Ex-deacon sentenced for holdup

  • Follow Metro

SPARTANBURG, S.C. --- A former South Carolina church deacon who tried to rob a bank was sentenced Thursday to almost 11 years in prison after a federal judge heard emotional testimony from relatives who pleaded for mercy and from bank employees whose lives were threatened.

Bruce Windsor's wife and the oldest of their four children looked on in tears as Mr. Windsor, 43, was sentenced to 10 years and 10 months in federal prison.

"I am scared and overwhelmed at the prospect of raising four children alone," Heather Windsor told U.S. District Judge Henry Floyd. "We're a close, simple family, and we're devastated."

Mr. Windsor pleaded guilty to federal bank robbery and weapons charges in October. Prosecutors have said the family man who coached his children's soccer teams donned a homemade mask and wig, stormed into a Greenville bank on Feb. 26, pointed a .38-caliber revolver at two female employees, took them hostage and demanded cash from the bank's vault.

Ninety minutes later, the women were freed peacefully, and Mr. Windsor was arrested.

Hostages told the judge their ordeal lasted less than two hours but left them with lifelong scars.

"That day will haunt me for the rest of my life," Melinda Whitmire said, her voice shaking. "He should not be allowed to walk the streets."

Ms. Whitmire, who knew Mr. Windsor as a bank client, described how he used a phone to call his wife, crying as he asked her and his hostages to pray for him. "I told him, 'You're a father. You should not be doing this,'" she said.

Lorraine Wiggs, the other hostage, said she felt certain Mr. Windsor would kill them. "I needed to prepare myself to come face to face with the Lord," she said. "Bruce screamed that he was ready to die, and that we were going to die with him."

After his arrest, Mr. Windsor's family blamed his crime on troubles related to the financial meltdown.

"This is something Bruce has never done," his sister, Lisa Weaver, said in late February. "The only think I can think of is he must've just snapped under the pressure."

But on Thursday, as more than 100 of Mr. Windsor's friends and relatives packed the courtroom, several of them told Judge Floyd that the former real estate investor had been suffering from mental illness and threatened to kill himself more than a year before the standoff.

"I truly believe ... that Bruce's primary intention that day was to commit suicide," said Tim Grant, a family friend who said he has gone to church with Mr. Windsor's family for more than a decade.

After his arrest, Mr. Windsor was evaluated at a federal prison facility. He has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and is taking medication. Mrs. Windsor said her husband's mental state has been improving.

Addressing the court, Mr. Windsor apologized to the women he held hostage and told Judge Floyd he knew he should serve prison time.

"I'm sorry, and I want to accept whatever punishment is due," Mr. Windsor said.

Comments (5) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
justus4
113
Points
justus4 12/18/09 - 04:25 am
0
0
O.J. was involved in a crime
Unpublished

O.J. was involved in a crime where he was charged with kidnapping because he said, "don't anybody move" (and didn't have a gun) and got ten yrs. This guy rob a bank, then took hostages and gets ten yrs, (no kidnapping charge makes the sentence light) which he may or may not serve, but notice the wife's statement about her situation. Why is that important and why wasn't her husband concerned before his actions? In fact, this guy will not serve ten yrs, so expect him out in five. For the crime of robbing a bank w/ weapon and taking people against their will, this is a light sentence. Wonder why? Hmmm

justus4
113
Points
justus4 12/18/09 - 04:56 am
0
0
O.J. was involved in a crime
Unpublished

O.J. was involved in a crime where he was charged with kidnapping because he said, "don't anybody move" (and didn't have a gun) and got ten yrs. This guy rob a bank, then took hostages and gets ten yrs, (no kidnapping charge makes the sentence light) which he may or may not serve, but notice the wife's statement about her situation. Why is that important and why wasn't her husband concerned before his actions? In fact, this guy will not serve ten yrs, so expect him out in five. For the crime of robbing a bank w/ weapon and taking people against their will, this is a light sentence. Wonder why? Hmmm

johnston.cliff
2
Points
johnston.cliff 12/18/09 - 08:18 am
0
0
LOL, person pushing the

LOL, person pushing the "justus4 post button". Who ever the government school graduate is that wrote this silly post , needs to find someone to tell them when to post. Accidentally hitting the post button at 31 minute increments emphasizes the mistake.

sueboo418
37
Points
sueboo418 12/18/09 - 11:34 am
0
0
Yep, that's right justus it's

Yep, that's right justus it's because he is white!!! you are such an idiot. O.J. has a history remember?????? He brutally killed his ex wife and her boyfriend. but of course I'm sure you don't believe he did that huh? hmmmm wonder why? Probably because you are a you know what. LOL

Doyougetitnow
4
Points
Doyougetitnow 12/18/09 - 01:33 pm
0
0
justnuts strikes again,

justnuts strikes again, doubling the stupid level this time. OJ's accomplises DID have guns. Your complete lack of reading comprehension skills is apparent once again. Let me explain this to the guvment skool dropout for the umtienth time; Federal time means NO PAROLE. I kept it as short as I could and typed it real slow.

terry67
0
Points
terry67 12/18/09 - 02:10 pm
0
0
Mr. Windsor pleaded guilty to

Mr. Windsor pleaded guilty to federal bank robbery and weapons charges in October. - Which means a deal was made. A trial was avoided he took a shorter sentence - i think O.J. was offered a plea deal that he turned down - he was found GUILTY!!!!!

LCC0256
802
Points
LCC0256 12/18/09 - 02:39 pm
0
0
Here is the REAL SAD PART of

Here is the REAL SAD PART of justus...my observations & life history over many years tell me that 90% of the African males between the approximate age range of 12 - 40 yrs (today) old feel exactly as he does.The older African males are wiser and not so prejudiced & hateful of Caucasians ( African females are not nearly as prejudiced and hateful of Caucasians) - the younger African children have not been exposed to the African propaganda machine yet...

Back to Top
loading...
Top headlines

Health care cost worries lock out substitutes

A decision on limiting hours of part-time Richmond County school employees to offset anticipated health care costs has been rescinded, but the mistake caused confusion and cost some substitute ...
Search Augusta jobs