Former Staples track star likely to take plea deal in 'bomb' bank heist
A former Staples High School track star who police say walked into a Stamford bank on a late Friday afternoon in October and threatened to "pull the trigger" on a bomb and walked out with about $5,000 in cash, appears to be ready to take a state plea agreement that will likely send him to jail for several years.
With shackles on his hands and feet, Janssen Lewis, 28, made an appearance Tuesday during a brief hearing at state Superior Court in Stamford where his lawyer, Public Defender Barry Butler, said that he had an "agreement in principal" with Senior Assistant State's Attorney Paul Ferencek to settle the criminal case against Lewis.
Lewis has been held at the Bridgeport Correctional Center in lieu of a $50,000 court appearance bond on charges of armed robbery and third-degree larceny since his arrest a day after the Oct. 11, 2013 robbery at TD Bank at 1625 Summer St. in Stamford.
Butler told Judge Richard Comerford that he looked forward to Janssen pleading out to the robbery when Janssen returns to court June 18.
What exactly Lewis will be pleading to and what his sentence will be, however, has not been disclosed.
The plea agreement was not discussed in court Tuesday and after the hearing Ferencek said he could not discuss it.
When Lewis was first arraigned on the bank robbery charge eight months ago, his then defense attorney, Andre Cayo, said Lewis turned himself in to police about 9 hours after the robbery -- when he found out he was the prime suspect in the case. Lewis has no criminal record and shortly before the robbery had been let go from a job at Stamford Hospital as a psychiatric technician, Cayo said.
In 2003, Lewis was the Laddie Lawrence Scholarship recipient from Staples and was given $10,000 to attend any school of his choosing.
After police released a surveillance photo and description of the suspect roughly 90 minutes after the robbery, Fairfield police told Stamford investigators they recognized Lewis and investigated him for some suspicious activity the night before.
With the tip from Fairfield, a team of Stamford police went to Lewis's address, where they observed a red Saab. In the car, they said they found a large amount of U.S. currency, a black bag and dark clothing.