CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WV News) – A 43-year-old man from West Milford pleaded guilty on Monday to the November 17 gun-wielding robbery of Salem’s Summit Community Bank.
Clinton Monroe Utter, also known as Clint Utter, also admitted money laundering conspiracy charges related to the $ 15,000 he stole of the $ 69,100 he stole.
The US judge Michael John Aloi accepted the plea. It is up to US District Judge Thomas S. Kleeh whether he accepts it. But since Utter pleaded on the prosecution without a plea deal, there is no reason to believe that Article III judge would reject Alois’ report and recommendations.
Utter faces up to 20 years imprisonment for each charge. It is unclear whether they would run the sentences consecutively or at the same time.
The US Attorney General Sarah Wagner for the Acting US Attorney Randolph Bernard made a detailed offer that lasted several minutes.
One of the bizarre government pieces of evidence presented by Harrison Sheriffs Lt. Adam Titchenal and the FBI (also mentioned in court records): Utter wanted the money to rent muscles to scare a family judge and his ex-wife. Utter apparently believed he could end his divorce, which was costing him $ 2,500 a month in alimony.
In addition, Wagner’s offer indicated that Utter, who was unemployed at the time of the crimes, was over-indebted. He owed loans, including a car loan, and, according to the offer, had credit card debt in addition to alimony payments and other routine bills.
Utter entered the bank through the staff door and tied three of the staff with cable ties. He used his gun, an old-style revolver, to force a fourth clerk to collect the money from him; At some point, however, she slipped into bait tickets that would help point a finger at him.
A fifth employee showed up in the middle of the robbery and was also held back with cable ties.
Part of a latex glove ripped and stuck to one of the zip ties, which Wagner said provided DNA evidence accusing Utter. The government gathered more DNA evidence elsewhere.
Utter also stole the bank manager’s vehicle and drove to a place where an accomplice picked him up in Utter’s vehicle.
According to Wagner, law enforcement agencies were able to use surveillance video from watercrafts as well as a license plate reader to identify Utter as a suspect.
The money laundering conspiracy, according to Wagner, involved bank robbery cash given to two Fairmont women to buy drugs and pay bills.
Federal defender Brian Kornbrath said he had no viable defense for Utter. The longtime defense attorney told Aloi that “certain elements of the crime are being tried.”
That comes after co-defendants David Alan Gill, 61, of Gypsy, and Blaine Allen Ash, 37, of Bristol pleaded guilty in federal court. Everyone admitted to completing the bank robbery in hindsight. Ash and Gill face up to 10 years in prison.
Deputy US Attorney Jennifer Conklin also represents the government.