Billy Jack Steele
(Aurora, Ind.) – A man who robbed a bank in Aurora last year has lost his appeal for a lower sentence.
Billy Jack Steele held up the U.S. Bank on Second Street on December 1, 2010. He entered the bank and told the teller she had five seconds to hand over the money.
Steele and his accomplice, getaway driver Christopher Dye, were caught minutes following the robbery when police spotted their vehicle on State Road 56. The stolen money was found with them.
Steele, 35, pleaded guilty to a Robbery charge in March in exchange for having a Theft charge dismissed. He was sentenced to eight years in prison the following month, the maximum penalty he faced for the Class C felony.
Steele, who lived in Connersville, appealed his sentence arguing he should have received an eight year sentence with four years suspended to probation.
In the appeal, Steele’s attorney argues he only robbed the bank to provide Christmas presents for his three children. He also emphasized that he was not armed at the time of the holdup.
On December 2, the Indiana Court of Appeals issued a ruling to uphold Steele’s eight year sentence, focusing on his criminal past.
“Steele's history indicates a willingness to take the property of others by the use of force and further demonstrates an inability to benefit from rehabilitative efforts,”
Steele had been convicted in 2008 for a Franklin County bank robbery. He was still on probation for that crime when he committed the Aurora robbery.
“In sum, there is nothing in the nature of the offense or the character of the offender to persuade us that the eight-year sentence is inappropriate,” the appellate court stated in its decision.