Trial begins for suspect in 2007 fatal bank robbery

July 13, 2011 3:30:18 PM PDT
Opening statements began Wednesday in the trial of one of three men charged in a deadly bank robbery in 2007 on Chicago's South Side.

Bank teller Tramaine Gibson was shot and killed during the heist. The suspect on trial, David Vance, is accused of firing the fatal shot.

Prosecutors called it cold blood murder motivated by money. Vance is accused of being the ring leader of the brazen bank robbery at the Illinois Service Federal savings and loan in May of 2007. Prosecutors say Mr. Vance is the one who jumped over a counter and pulled the trigger, killing Gibson.

"[Vance] was so focused on money [he] dragged [the bank teller] down a hallway, bleeding and dying, to get access to the bank's vault," prosecutor Annie Kastanek told jurors.

Prosecutors say this was actually the second South Side robbery Vance and two friends committed that month. In the first one they allegedly walked away with $12,000 and no one got hurt.

Twelve days later in the Chatham neighborhood, prosecutors say Vance and his team mistakenly believed only one security guard was on duty at Illinois Service Federal. A shootout erupted, with dozens of bullets flying, after a second security guard intervened.

The robbers left the bank with just under $7,000. Police say they ditched their stolen getaway car but also left behind DNA evidence and images from bank surveillance cameras so powerful they, combined with a reward, led to a tip that broke the case.

Defense attorneys are arguing the investigation was flawed.

"On the surface the government's case appears clear but when you peek inside it becomes murky," Ellen Dumph told jurors.

In the courtroom was Gibson's family, now in its fourth year of waiting to justice for their son's murder.

"The guys that were responsible for my son's death, they are represented here every day...the government is here, so I believe someone from Tramaine's family family should be here to make sure that everyone is accountable for their actions," said Verton Gibson, father.

"I just want to see justice served, and as I said earlier when it happened, that even though crime might still happen, at least they will not be able to put another family through what we have gone through," said Gail Gibson, mother.

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