James Gilbert Crick
Photo: District Attorney Bert Poston
Photo: District Attorney Bert Poston

Kentucky murderer gets 20 years after armed bank robbery in North Georgia

A 63-year-old man who had previously been convicted of murder in Kentucky was sentenced to 20 years in prison Thursday for robbing a Wells Fargo in Whitfield County at gunpoint, authorities said.

James Gilbert Crick, who used to live in the 1000 block of Presley Road in Dalton, agreed to the prison time followed by 40 years on probation as part of a negotiated plea deal for the October 2017 robbery, District Attorney Bert Poston said in a news release.

He entered the bank at 2114 Cleveland Highway with a pistol, pointing it at two employees and demanding money, the release said. He stole about $13,000 and fled the bank, but he was arrested minutes later by deputies.

Crick was still under a lifetime parole from Kentucky at the time of the robbery because of a murder conviction from 1974, according to Kentucky Department of Corrections records. He was a teenager in Christian County when he committed the murder the year prior, which took place during an armed robbery.

In addition to the life sentence with parole for murder, he was also sentenced to five years for armed robbery and seven months for grand larceny, records show. It’s unclear how much time he spent in prison before being granted parole.

Federal prosecutors sentenced Crick to 9½ years in prison for bank robbery and for the use of a firearm during a felony in March 2018, Poston said in the release. However, under Georgia’s “two strikes” law, his prior murder conviction would have triggered a life sentence without parole.

Because state prosecutors and the armed robbery victims were displeased with how little jail time the felon was given, the state decided to proceed with local prosecution, the release said. Crick’s legal team filed a motion seeking to bar the prosecutor on double-jeopardy grounds, which was denied in January 2019.

Even though Crick’s guilty plea wasn’t for life in prison, “At (Crick’s) age and given his current state of health, it is likely that the 20 years without parole will amount to a life sentence anyway,” the release said.

Poston said prosecutors and the victims of the robbery agreed that the guilty plea “was better than putting everyone through a jury trail under the circumstances.” 

In other news:

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.