Newton man guilty of bank robbery

Newton man guilty of bank robbery

A 22-year-old Newton man has pleaded guilty to federal violations in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney John Malcolm Bales May 12.  

Michael Dwayne Byerly pleaded guilty to bank robbery on May 11 before U.S. District Judge Thad Heartfield.

According to information presented in court, on June 25, 2014, Byerly, along with co-defendants Michael Xavier Odarius Clark and Keith Collins Jr., attempted to rob the Sabine State Bank in Burkeville. On at least two occasions prior to the robbery, the defendant and co-defendants, Clark and Collins, drove to the bank to become more familiar with it and the habits of the employees. They became aware that the manager of the bank, left at approximately the same time every day, and locked up the building using her set of keys before departing.

On the day of the robbery, Collins drove Byerly and Clark to the bank and dropped them off for the purpose of committing the robbery. Byerly went inside the bank while Clark stayed outside. Upon entry into the bank, Byerly pointed a gun at the manager and demanded that she open the bank's safe. The manager knew that it would require two keys to access the cash, and claimed that she was part of the janitorial staff and that she was unable to comply. Byerly, knowing this to be untrue, attempted to grab her keys from her and during the ensuing scuffle over the keys, Byerly produced a knife and stabbed the bank manager several times. She survived the brutal attack and was taken to a hospital for treatment.

A federal grand jury returned an indictment against Byerly and the other men involved in the crime on Aug. 6, 2014.

Although Byerly has agreed to a term of 25 years in federal prison, sentencing will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the U.S. Probation Office. Clark and Collins have both previously pleaded guilty to bank robbery and are also awaiting sentencing.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Newton County Sheriff’s Office, the Newton Police Department and the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christopher Tortorice and Chris Rapp.