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65-year-old sentenced for Hendersonville bank robbery

U.S. District Judge Max O. Cogburn Jr. sentenced a 65-year-old man to 10 years and eight months in prison plus three years of supervised release after he pleaded guilty to robbing a bank in Hendersonville and three other banks in the Carolinas, U.S. Attorney Andrew Murray announced. Cogburn also ordered the defendant to pay $8,569 in restitution.

According to court records, John Howard Johnson entered TD Bank at 535 Greenville Highway last Aug. 23 and handed a teller a note that read, “This is not a joke, I have a gun, I will kill you.” Johnson took the money the teller handed him and left the bank in his vehicle.

Prosecutors said at a sentencing hearing July 15 that Johnson robbed four banks in North and South Carolina from July 3 to Aug. 23 last year. Court records show that on July 3, Johnson walked into a BB&T bank on Meeting Street, in Charleston, S.C., and passed a demand note written on an envelope to a teller that read, “I have a gun. Give me $100s and $50s.” According to court records, Johnson lifted his shirt and exposed what appeared to be a firearm and threatened to shoot the teller. The teller placed $1,800 into an envelope and gave it to Johnson, who then fled the scene in a vehicle.

The second bank robbery occurred on July 23, 2019, when Johnson entered a First Bank in Wilmington and passed a demand note to the teller, threatening to kill the teller and asking for cash. After the teller handed Johnson the money, Johnson again fled in his vehicle. The third robbery occurred on July 31, 2019, at a BB&T bank in Mount Holly. As with the prior robberies, Johnson handed a demand note to a teller that read, “I have a gun in my shorts. Give me all of your 50s and 100s. Don’t make me kill you. Don’t make me shoot you.” After the teller put the cash into an envelope and gave it to Johnson, the defendant fled in the same vehicle.
Law officers arrested Johnson in Charleston last Septembe. He pleaded guilty to bank robbery charges on Feb. 3. Johnson is in federal custody and will be transferred into custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility.
In making the announcement, Murray thanked the FBI, the Mt. Holly Police Department, the Hendersonville Police Department, the Wilmington Police Department, the Charleston Police Department and the Sever County Police Department for investigation of this case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Don Gast, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Asheville, prosecuted the case.