Rencher found guilty on 8 counts

June 23, 2008 5:32:44 PM PDT
There is a verdict in the trial of a man accused of a series of bank robberies in the Loop. One of those heists took placing following his escape from the Cook County Jail.

Randy Rencher, 39, has been found guilty on all but one count.

Prosecutors called Rencher a serial bank robber. He is charged with robbing five banks in the Loop after escaping from jail.

The defense rested its case Thursday, calling only one witness to the stand. The jury did not hear testimony from Rencher.

The prosecution had several bank tellers testify that Rencher was the man responsible for the hold ups.

The jury took about two and a half hours to reach a verdict. Rencher was charged with nine counts. He was found guilty on eight. He was found not guilty on possession of a deadly weapon.

He was called a calculating, experienced, gun-toting serial bank robber by prosecutors and obviously the jury went for that argument. He was found guilty of robbing five Loop banks - three in 2004 and two more after he escaped from jail in 2006.

On the same day, Rencher was seen on surveillance tape robbing a bank with a Cook County Jail guard's uniform on. He allegedly confessed to all of the robberies to a bartender in Ohio.

He then turned himself in and, three years later, went to trial. There was a great deal of evidence against him, including his palm print, three confessions and an eyewitness testimony.

"There certainly was a lot of evidence. But any time you have 12 jurors who have to agree that somebody is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, that is a serious burden. And we take it seriously," said Ed Siskel, federal prosecutor.

"There was a fingerprint on the counter of one of the banks. There were two in-court I.D.s. I am glad the court was thoughtful about not charging him guilty with the gun in the hotel room," said Robert Clarke, defense attorney. "That means he does not face a 15-year mandatory minimum in this case."

But Rencher still faces a significant amount of jail time. Prosecutors say the bare minimum is 32 years and the maximum is a lifetime. He will be sentenced September 26.


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