Lawyer pleads guilty in bank robbery

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, October 31, 2007

JACKSON – An attorney who got away from the Wesson TrustmarkNational Bank with over $37,000 pleaded guilty to bank robbery andbrandishing a firearm Tuesday.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Jackson, 31-year-oldScott Meece, of Louisiana, faces sentencing before Judge HenryWingate on Jan. 10. Meece could see a maximum of 25 years in prisonon bank robbery charges and a maximum seven years on the firearmcharge.

Meece is also suspected in bank robberies in Tylertown, Terry,and the Laurel/Ellisville area, as well as an attempted bankrobbery in Lake. As part of the plea agreement, however, Meece willnot be charged with additional offenses in Mississippi, saidAssistant U.S. Attorney Erin O’Leary.

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“He was arrested back in April as a suspect in multiple bankrobberies,” she said. “He was originally arrested in one bankrobbery, and he took responsibility for that bank robbery inWesson.”

O’Leary said Meece was arrested originally on the Wesson robberybecause it was the one they had the most evidence on at thetime.

Police say the March 27 Wesson bank robbery occurred when Meeceentered the bank under the pretense of being new in town andopening a bank account. When a manager took him to the vault to seethe safe deposit boxes, Meese brandished his weapon and ordered theemployee to open the safe.

He escaped the bank, possibly in a blue Volvo, but not beforehis image was captured on a surveillance camera. Wesson authoritiessaw to it that it was distributed to banks and law enforcementagencies all over the south.

“Basically (Wesson Police Chief) Steve (Carlisle) had me come inearly the next day and go through the Internet and find everypolice department, casino, and university and send emails to themwith the photos included,” said Wesson Officer Philip Sterling, whoresponded to the initial call of the bank holdup. “We sent some toSoutheastern Louisiana (University) in Hammond. A classmate of hisson recognized the picture and they contacted the policedepartment.”

Sterling said Carlisle deserves all the credit for his quickthinking in getting Meece’s picture distributed.

“(Meece) was a suspect in other robberies in Alabama and severalin Mississippi and Chief Carlisle deserves the credit, because ofhis knowledge and experience,” said Sterling. “He knew we could getthis guy, because for him to be changing cars he couldn’t be fromthat far away. The chief knew if we got enough pictures generatedsomeone was going to recognize him and that’s exactly whathappened.”

The attorney, who was admitted to the Louisiana Bar in 2005 andthe Tennessee Bar in 2003, had his license temporarily suspendedafter his April arrest, and now faces permanent disbarment.