Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Robbery Suspect Acquitted; Images on Bank's Videotape of the Crime Apparently Swayed Jurors

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Robbery Suspect Acquitted; Images on Bank's Videotape of the Crime Apparently Swayed Jurors

Article excerpt

Byline: TERRY DICKSON

BRUNSWICK - Although he confessed to investigators and two co-defendants testified against him, a federal jury acquitted Michael David Palmer Thursday of robbing a Darien bank last year.

The nine-woman, three-man jury deliberated about an hour before returning at 5:20 p.m. with a verdict finding Palmer, 50, of Miami not guilty of armed bank robbery and brandishing a firearm while committing a violent crime. As the verdicts were pronounced, Palmer's family began weeping quietly behind him.

He turned and smiled faintly toward his relatives as others in the courtroom appeared stunned.

After polling the jury and dismissing them, U.S. District Judge Lisa Godbey Wood asked Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Buerstatte and defense lawyer Douglas Adams if there was any reason the court shouldn't accept the verdict.

After both said no, Wood looked at Palmer and told him the jury had found him not guilty and said, "as a result, you are free of these charges.''

Palmer brightened, turned to his family and smiled broadly as he raised one hand in a slight wave.

Palmer and his co-defendants were charged in the July 20 armed robbery of Heritage Bank on U.S. 17 in Darien. A man who witnesses said was Palmer held a semiautomatic rifle in the air while his two accomplices snatched $30,000 in cash from teller drawers.

The three men fled north on U.S. 17 in a maroon van with McIntosh County sheriff's deputies chasing them. The van crashed about 15 miles north, just south of Eulonia, and the three men split up. Officers arrested Palmer's stepson, Alfredo Germaine Mason, 20, of Opa-Locka, and his friend Aaron Jermaine Jackson, 19, of West Palm Beach, near the van. The two men were trying to hide $17,000 in an old tire when officers caught up with them.

Palmer was arrested a day later after police surrounded his daughter's home in Brunswick.

Mason and Jackson pleaded guilty to armed bank robbery and testified in the two-day trial that the robbery was Palmer's idea and that he had brought them from Miami to McIntosh County.

Following his arrest, Palmer confessed to FBI Special Agent Tony Alig, but the government had more evidence than the words of Palmer and his two co-defendants. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.