Community Members Support Teen Bank Robber

They think he should only get probation for robbing four banks

By Chris Chan
|  Friday, Sep 10, 2010  |  Updated 6:29 AM PDT
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They think he should only get probation for robbing four banks.

They think he should only get probation for robbing four banks.

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Some members of the community hope a teenager who robbed four banks in a four-month period gets only probation. 

A Carmel Valley family has offered support for 19-year-old Evan McGehee who was due to be sentenced on Friday afternoon. They said he acted out of character and faces no chance of being reformed if sent to prison. 

"I support reform and there is no benefit to putting them into prison and having them come out in worse shape than they went in," said Hortencia Moore who has offered to take care of McGehee if he gets probation. 

Moore said McGehee was a 'good kid' but a series of events made him increasingly desperate.  She said he lost his home to fire in 2007, and his stepfather became ill with cancer, forcing his mother to declare bankruptcy.  He had been living out of his car while going to Torrey Pines High School. He was on the track team with Moore's son and visited their home regularly.

McGehee pleaded guilty to robbing four Chase Banks from November 2009 to February 2010.  Prosecutors have asked the judge for a sentence of six years and eight months in jail.  In court documents, they argue that probation would just be a 'slap on the wrist'.

But criminal defense attorney Anthony Solare said probation is a possibility. 

"Sometimes what the court will do in different situations is they'll put on a heavy sentence, send someone to a lot of time in prison and then stay that [sentence], pending successful completion of probation," said Solare. 

Solare also said having a home to go to, a family that will accept him and offers of employment from the community could provide the judge a reasonable alternative to rehabilitate him. 

"We have a life coach who has volunteered to help. We have a church that's ready to embrace him. We have a community, he's got a home, everything's there for him to be successful if he's granted probation" said Moore. 

Moore has set up a website in support of Evan at evanmcgehee.com.

Let us know what you think. Comment below, send us your thoughts via Twitter @nbcsandiego or add your comment to our Facebook page.

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