Veteran gets prison for robbing bank on his day off from US Postal Service job
By PAULA MCMAHON | The Sun Sentinel (Tribune News Service) | Published: October 21, 2017
Prosecutors say that George Murillo was not your average bank robber.
Murillo was fired from his job as a U.S. Postal Service worker after he committed a dramatic bank robbery on his day off from work earlier this year. The Palm Beach County man said it was “the most foolish thing” he had ever done.
But there was a lot more to Murillo’s life than that dangerous criminal act, the prosecution and defense told the judge who had to decide an appropriate punishment Friday.
Murillo served a number of deployments in Iraq during more than a decade in the U.S. Army and received several awards — including, most notably, an army commendation medal of valor for his actions under fire in Iraq in 2003, according to court records.
Murillo was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and received disability payments for that and other problems linked to his military service, the defense said.
Because of the unusual circumstances of Murillo’s case, prosecutors recommended a federal prison term of four years and three months. The defense asked for two years in prison.
After weighing the good and the bad, U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra sentenced Murillo to two years and nine months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. He also ordered Murillo to undergo treatment for alcohol abuse.
The judge said he had considered all aspects of Murillo’s life, including his difficult childhood, the seriousness of his crime and “his disability resulting from his service to this country.”
Murillo, 41, confessed to FBI agents almost immediately after he was arrested in April. He said he was in a “desperate financial situation” because he was trying to financially support his ex-wife and their three children as well as his girlfriend and her two children.
He told agents he targeted the bank because it was close to where he worked. Murillo was later fired from his job as a mail handler at the West Palm Beach Processing and Distribution Center, authorities said.
Murillo wore a full-face ski mask and gloves and brandished a loaded pistol during the April 4 robbery of a Bank of America branch in the 1750 block of South Congress Avenue in Palm Springs, prosecutor Marc Osborne said.
Victims told agents they did not notice that Murillo briefly pulled out the gun, then put it away, but the weapon is clearly visible in security photos from the bank. The victims said they were still terrified by the ordeal.
Murillo borrowed his girlfriend’s car and a gun from a friend, donned his work gloves from the postal service and a military mask from his prior career in the U.S. Army, and robbed the bank in the afternoon of April 4.
Murillo took off with close to $10,700 in cash but didn’t realize there was a GPS tracking device concealed in the stolen loot. Palm Beach Gardens police, the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office and FBI arrested him after an officer pulled him over near the intersection of Military Trail and Burns Road soon after the robbery.
Murillo, who has been jailed since his arrest, apologized profusely during his sentencing Friday in federal court in West Palm Beach. He begged the judge for forgiveness.
“I may be an idiot, I may be stupid … but I am not a bad man,” Murillo told the judge. “I’m so sorry for being so weak.”
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