Bank robber hit with nearly 22-year prison sentence

2014-01-24T13:56:00Z 2014-01-24T22:08:15Z Bank robber hit with nearly 22-year prison sentenceMarc Chase marc.chase@nwi.com, (219) 662-5330 nwitimes.com
January 24, 2014 1:56 pm  • 

HAMMOND | A federal judge sentenced a convicted bank robber with a criminal history spanning four decades to nearly 22 years in prison this week.

The 262-month federal prison sentence came despite pleas last week from defendant Ronald Parks, 61, of Calumet City, who asked for a more lenient 14-year sentence as a better shot at not dying in prison.

The final sentence was handed down in Hammond federal court by U.S. District Judge Rudy Lozano this week, federal prosecutors reported Friday.

The sentence followed Parks' guilty plea last year to the April 2012 robbery of Citizens Bank in Hammond. Two weeks before the robbery, federal authorities said Parks also had kidnapped a woman in Indiana and held her for ransom in Illinois.

In court filings last week, Parks' defense attorney, Jeffrey Schlesinger, asked the court for the more lenient prison term, which would have set Parks free in his 70s. But the defense attorney conceded his client had been consistently in trouble with the law for the better part of four decades.

Parks previously was sentenced to life in prison for a 1974 charge of murder in perpetration of robbery. After 20 years of incarceration, Parks was paroled in that case in 1994, his attorney explained in court documents.

But Parks violated his parole and returned to prison in 1996, according to Schlesinger.

Parks was paroled yet again in May 1997 only to end up back in prison in August of that year on another violation and new charge, court documents show.

In 2005, Parks again was released from prison. Less than five months later, he was jailed again on parole violations, the documents state. More parole violations occurred after Parks' 2009 release, and he was returned to custody in 2010.

Parks committed the most recent robbery less than a month after his 2012 parole from prison, Schlesinger said.

According to the Indiana Department of Correction website, Parks was convicted of murder in 1975. In 1999, Parks was convicted of rape and criminal confinement.

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