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Mobile man who shot guard during bank heist gets 20 years

MOBILE (AP) — A Mobile man who shot and wounded a Prichard bank guard during a robbery in April will spend nearly 20 years in prison.

Chief U.S. District Judge Ginny Granade on Thursday sentenced 25-year-old Leanthony Lee Bettis to 19 years and seven months in prison and also ordered him to pay back the $506 he stole from Commonwealth National Bank and make about $1,510 in restitution to the security guard he shot.

Immediately after entering the bank, Bettis sprayed the lobby with bullets, hitting security guard Emanuel Mose in the leg. Mose fired back once with his revolver before retreating into a back room.

“The nature of this offense showed a callous disregard for human life,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Gina Vann, who argued for the sentence, the maximum penalty under advisory guidelines. “He walked into a bank firing before he even knew who was there.”

Defense attorney Bill Scully, who said his client will appeal, argued that the 10-year mandatory minimum sentence would have been sufficient.

“Mr. Bettis is a young man. He’s looking at a very long sentence,” Scully said. “What he’s known in his short life is prison. ... He hasn’t had much of an opportunity to learn better.”

Jurors convicted Bettis in July of bank robbery, conspiracy to commit bank robbery and using a firearm during a violent crime.

Bettis’ co-defendant, Rayford Gene Rivers Jr., reached a plea agreement with prosecutors and testified against Bettis. Rivers was sentenced to a little more than eight years in prison.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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