Billie Jerome Allen was sentenced to death for a bank robbery during which a bank guard was killed. According to court documents Billie Jerome Allen and Norris Holder would enter the bank in Missouri armed with semi automatic weapons. The bank guard would be fatally shot. Both Billie Jerome Allen and Norris Holder would be arrested and in separate trials would be convicted and sentenced to death.
Billie Jerome Allen 2021 Information
|Register Number: 26901-044|
|Located at: Terre Haute USP|
|Release Date: DEATH SENT|
Norris Holder 2021 Information
|Register Number: 26902-044|
|Located at: Terre Haute USP|
|Release Date: DEATH SENT|
Billie Jerome Allen More News
On March 17, 1997, security guard Richard Heflin was killed during an armed robbery of the Lindell Bank & Trust in St. Louis (Forest Park), Missouri. Billie Jerome Allen and Norris G. Holder were charged and convicted in separate jury trials for violating 18 U.S.C. §§ 2, 2113(a) and (e) (1994) (armed robbery by force or violence in which a killing occurs) (Count I) and 18 U.S.C. §§ 2, 924(c) (1) and (j) (1) (1994 and Supp. II 1996) (carrying or using a firearm during a crime of violence and committing murder) (Count II). Allen was sentenced to life in prison on Count I and received a sentence of death on Count II. Holder received sentences of death for both Counts I and II. In these direct appeals, Allen and Holder raise numerous challenges to the constitutionality of the Federal Death Penalty Act of 1994, they allege that the district court2 committed several errors during jury voir dire, trial, and sentencing, and they raise various other statutory and constitutional challenges to their convictions and sentences. For the reasons discussed below, we affirm Allen’s and Holder’s convictions and sentences.
Holder was a regular customer of the Lindell Bank & Trust. Five hundred dollars was automatically deposited to his account each month from a legal settlement Holder obtained after losing the lower portion of one leg in a train accident, and every month Holder withdrew that five hundred dollars. On March 13, 1997, four days before the date of the armed robbery, Holder brought Billie Jerome Allen along with him for his monthly withdrawal of funds. Allen and Holder were also seen together on several other occasions during the ten days leading up to the armed robbery. Together they watched the movies “Heat” and “Set It Off” which depicted assault-style takeover armed bank robberies similar in many details to the manner in which they later robbed the Lindell Bank & Trust. In preparation for the armed robbery, Holder supplied or obtained a Russian SKS semiautomatic assault rifle, a Chinese SKS semiautomatic assault rifle, a twelve-gauge shotgun, approximately two hundred rounds of ammunition consisting mostly of military style hollow point ammunition for the two SKS rifles, and a bulletproof vest which he wore. The night before the armed robbery two vans were stolen for use as the first two getaway vehicles after the robbery (Holder’s mother’s car was to be used as the third, and last, getaway vehicle).
On the day of the armed robbery, March 17, 1997, Billie Jerome Allen and Holder parked the first getaway van on the street just outside the bank. Wearing dark ski masks and armed with the semiautomatic rifles–Allen with the Chinese SKS loaded with 11 rounds, and Holder with the Russian SKS loaded with 37 rounds and each carrying extra rounds of the hollow point ammunition–they rushed into the bank. The first man to enter immediately began firing shots at security guard Heflin, and during the course of the robbery Holder jumped over the tellers’ counter and retrieved money from the tellers’ drawers. The ballistics evidence showed that both rifles were discharged during the robbery and a total of sixteen shots were fired inside the bank, at least eight of which hit security guard Heflin who died shortly thereafter. Eleven of the shots came from the Chinese SKS rifle, three came from the Russian SKS rifle, and the remaining two could have come from either rifle. After the armed robbery, which lasted only a few minutes, Allen and Holder returned to the getaway van and sped off down the highway.
Several witnesses spotted the two men exiting the bank and returning to the van. Bank customer William Green, after hearing gunshots while at the drive-up teller window, dialed 911 and followed the van onto the highway. He continued following the van as it sped down the highway and into Forest Park. As the van entered the park, Green saw it burst into flames. Prior to the armed robbery, the suspects had soaked the van with gasoline so that it would be easier to destroy the evidence once they reached their second getaway vehicle. The van apparently started on fire when one of the suspects flicked a cigarette lighter. After the van started on fire, the van’s passenger–Allen–jumped out and ran into a wooded area. The other occupant, Holder, was on fire and two park workers helped to extinguish the flames. A police officer arrived on the scene simultaneously and arrested Holder.
Billie Jerome Allen, meanwhile, was spotted soon after he left the van on the opposite side of the wooded area by city forestry employee Bobby Harris. After making up a story about why the hair on his head was burned, Allen convinced Harris and another forestry employee to give him a ride to the nearest Metrolink station. Harris later identified Allen in a lineup and at trial. Billie Jerome Allen was arrested early the next morning at his girlfriend’s apartment, the same apartment where he and Holder had stayed the night before the bank robbery and had together watched the movie “Set It Off.”