Key West bank robber pleads for leniency

This is Centennial Bank at 701 Whitehead St. in Key West.
This is Centennial Bank at 701 Whitehead St. in Key West.

A Key West bank robber deserves a break when he is sentenced in federal court because he didn’t make a specific threat to a teller before walking out with cash, a defense attorney says.

Stephen Daniel Stump, 36, who was homeless at the time, said he had a bomb in his backpack, which was a lie, his public defender said in a motion filed this month at U.S. District Court in Key West. Stump faces up to 20 years in prison.

“At no time did he state, gesture or threaten to detonate the bomb if the teller did not comply with his demands for money,” wrote Stewart Abrams, an assistant federal public defender. He “made a statement, not a threat.”

Stump pleaded guilty to bank robbery but doesn’t deserve to be sentenced more severely under federal law for threatening death upon his victims, Abrams said.

Saying he had a bomb inside his backpack, Stump robbed Centennial Bank, 701 Whitehead St., of $3,200 about 12:30 P.M. Oct. 26, 2016, and went straight to Duval Street to buy a drink.

He tipped the bartender $50, which was later returned to the bank, and walked back to the scene of the crime to wait for police to put him in handcuffs as an officer interviewed a witness.

Stump later said he suffers from schizophrenia and preferred prison to his painful place in the outside world.

Last week, Stump’s sentencing was rescheduled for 10 a.m. May 9 before Senior Judge James Lawrence King in Miami.

Gwen Filosa: @KeyWestGwen