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Man sentenced to federal prison for Billings bank robbery - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

Man sentenced to federal prison for Billings bank robbery

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Security cameras at the Western Security Bank's Downtown location caught this image of the suspected bank robber. Security cameras at the Western Security Bank's Downtown location caught this image of the suspected bank robber.
Randy Ray Starnes (YCDF booking photo) Randy Ray Starnes (YCDF booking photo)

BILLINGS - The man accused of robbing a Billings bank in April was sentenced Thursday to federal prison.

Randy Starnes, 60, was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Billings to 68 months in prison for robbing Western Security Bank at gunpoint.

There was no plea agreement in the case.

Defense attorneys described Starnes as the victim of childhood abuse who suffers from multiple mental illnesses as a result.

“Randy has been incarcerated for most of his adult life, and it has been extremely difficult for him to adjust to the outside world,” defense attorneys said in their sentencing memorandum.

But prosecutors argued Starnes was a career criminal.

Starnes entered the bank and handed the teller a note that said he had a gun and demanded cash.

He then looked at the teller and said “I mean it.”

The teller handed Starnes $500 and he fled on foot, according to court documents.

Police were notified about the robbery and soon after, an employee at a nearby casino told officers she’d seen Starnes playing the slot machine.

Officers responded to the casino and found Starnes in the same clothes he had worn during the robbery.

Starnes denied his involvement in the robbery and said he was homeless and spent most of the day “out west.”

Prosecutors outlined Starnes’ criminal history including DUI, burglary, assault, shoplifting, assault on an officer, possession of drugs, robbery, trespassing and escape.

“His message was very clearly that he had a gun and was willing to use it,” said prosecutors in their sentencing memorandum.

Prosecutors requested a sentence of 57 months in prison.

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