The jury, however, held that Iralee E. French Jr., 24, of Kansas City, was not responsible for the death of security guard Dwight W. Mayhugh, who suffered a shotgun wound during a robbery on Feb. 24, 2006.
Defense lawyer Steve Moss described the shotgun wound as “superficial” and urged jurors in closing arguments to consider the testimony of an expert witness who said that Mayhugh died of respiratory distress resulting from his hospital treatment.
Prosecutors countered that medical examiners had found that Mayhugh died of complications of a gunshot wound, and they urged jurors to find French guilty of using a firearm in a crime of violence resulting in death.
Jurors also found French not guilty of two counts of carjacking and two other gun counts related to carjacking.
Despite the not guilty verdicts, French is likely to receive a substantial prison sentence.
A co-defendant, Thirplus Moose, 24, pleaded guilty earlier this month to helping French rob the banks and discharging a firearm during a crime of violence resulting in death.
Both men were charged with conspiring in a robbery on Feb. 9, 2006, and the subsequent robbery attempt on Feb. 24 in which Mayhugh was wounded.
The robberies at the UMB Bank at 7901 Wornall Road went unsolved until 2008, when a taxi driver recalled dropping off two men near the bank minutes before the crime.
Police charge man with murder of security officer http://www.privateofficer.com
Federal prosecutors on Thursday charged a man in connection with a bungled bank robbery in Kansas City two years ago that left a 70-year-old security guard dead.
Kansas City police and FBI agents arrested Iralee French, 21, in St. Louis on Wednesday. They interviewed him until midnight.
Court records accuse him of being the man who shot Dwight W. Mayhugh on Feb. 24, 2006, as the guard arrived for work at UMB Bank, 7901 Wornall Road. Mayhugh died in a hospital the next day.
Authorities tracked down a second suspect this week in a St. Louis jail, where he is awaiting trial on an unrelated armed robbery. That 21-year-old man has not been charged in Mayhugh’s death.
Information generated from the largest-ever canvass in a criminal case two weeks ago helped authorities identify French and the second suspect. But authorities needed more evidence before making arrests.
Investigators spent recent days following leads, conducting interviews and requesting subpoenas before interviewing the suspects Wednesday and Thursday, police said.
Court records gave this account:
French and his partner scouted out the bank on Feb. 23, 2006.
The next morning, French called a taxi cab to pick them up at his partner’s girlfriend’s house near 23rd Street and Oakley Avenue and take them to the area of the UMB Bank.
The partner waited across the street from the bank. French wore black clothes and hid near the bank’s underground parking garage with a shotgun waiting for bank tellers to arrive.
Instead, about 6:40 a.m., Mayhugh pulled in and parked. French and his partner approached Mayhugh’s car, and Mayhugh reached for his gun.
French allegedly “panicked” when he saw Mayhugh’s gun and blasted the guard through the car window. Shotgun pellets hit Mayhugh’s neck and chest.
The robbers took Mayhugh’s keys and dragged him to the doorway because they wanted him to open the safes.
Once inside, Mayhugh tried to turn off the alarm but could not.
The robbers put Mayhugh in a corner, hopped in his car and fled with no money. Mayhugh walked across the street to summon help.
Authorities later found Mayhugh’s car abandoned in the 2300 block of Oakley Avenue. It was only a half-block from where a bank teller’s car had been dumped after a robbery at the same bank two weeks before.
Authorities said at the time that the robberies were connected, but no charges have been filed in connection with the first one, which occurred Feb. 9, 2006. In that case, two gunmen confronted a teller, stole her teller drawer and ordered her into the trunk of her car. She refused, and they fled in her car.
Shortly after Mayhugh’s death, FBI agents canvassed a small area on the block where both cars were abandoned. At a house near 23rd Steet and Oakley, they interviewed a young man who now is identified as the second suspect.
He was not a suspect at the time, police said. He told agents he was asleep at the time of the crime.
French and the second suspect were staying at the suspect’s girlfriend’s home on 23rd Street in early 2006, according to court records.
The records said the suspect changed his pants before talking to FBI agents when they came door-to-door.
French and the suspect later left the house but returned later that day to retrieve their clothing and a long gun, the records said.
In the years after the crime, leads dried up and the reward fund for information in the case grew to $60,000.
The FBI agent in charge of the case eventually was assigned to the Kansas City Police Department’s Career Criminal squad, and the squad took over the investigation.
Earlier this year, a tipster called the TIPS Hotline with details that filled two pages regarding Mayhugh’s death. Members of the Career Criminal squad thought the tipster lived in the neighborhood where the cars were dumped or had connections to that neighborhood.
That’s why they decided to send more than 100 investigators to a large area near 24th and Oakley to knock on nearly 500 doors in search of fresh tips.
The publicity surrounding the canvass led someone outside of the neighborhood to contact authorities.
“We got a huge break,” said Sgt. Eric Greenwell of the Career Criminal squad.
Federal prosecutors said it was premature to discuss how the $60,000 reward would be distributed.