Skip to main contentSkip to main content
You are the owner of this article.
You have permission to edit this article.
Edit

Watch: 22-year-old sentenced to 40 years in prison for 2019 kidnapping of bank manager and her children

George K. Pearson Robb and defense attorney May Lee

George K. Pearson Robb did not make a statement to the court before being sentenced on Monday. May Lee, his defense attorney, read a letter her client composed in which the defendant expressed a desire to go to school and to move out of Racine and away from negative influences. He may have the opportunity to do that when he is 62 and his 40-year prison sentence ends.

RACINE — A Milwaukee man who was part of a 2019 bank robbery scheme that involved the kidnapping of a pregnant bank manager from Kenosha and her two children was sentenced to 40 years in prison on Monday in Racine County Circuit Court.

George K. Pearson-Robb, 22, was convicted in December of armed robbery with threat of force as party to a crime, three counts of kidnapping and robbery of a financial institution.

The defendant was 19 years old at the time of the offense with no previous criminal history.

Judge Timothy Boyle called the case the most horrific of any of the cases he has seen as a judge excluding homicides.

In handing down the sentence that will keep the defendant in prison until he is 62 years old, the judge noted Pearson-Robb had taken no personal responsibility for the trauma inflicted on the victim and her children. In a letter to the court, which was read aloud by defense counsel, May Lee, the defendant spoke only of himself and his children. He apologized to the victims briefly.

“I can’t imagine anybody having to endure that alone, with your two children, wondering if you’re even going to live,” Boyle said. “Their lives have been changed forever.”

A pause

The court was expecting to sentence a second defendant, William Howell, 22, on Monday, but he expressed his desire to withdraw his guilty plea.

That case was reset.

William Q. Howell and attorney Jamie McClendon

William Q. Howell, who investigators have alleged was one of the co-conspirators in the kidnapping/bank robbery scheme in 2019, attempted to withdraw on Monday from the negotiated settlement with the Racine County District Attorney's Office. He is pictured with his defense attorney, Jamie McClendon.

History

Police at Wells Fargo

Police investigate a robbery on the morning of June 29, 2019, at Wells Fargo Bank, 1700 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive., Racine.

Officers from the Racine Police Department were dispatched at about 6:42 a.m. on June 28, 2019, to the Wells Fargo branch at 1700 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive on the report of a bank robbery.

Events culminating in the bank robbery began the evening before when Howell and a co-defendant, Donterious L. Robb, now 26, allegedly approached the branch manager of Wells Fargo, who was at home in Kenosha and getting her two children out of a car after arriving home.

The bank manager was pregnant at the time, and her children were then 5 and 2 years old.

Howell and Robb brandished firearms and forced the woman into the backseat of her car and then drove to Milwaukee.

During the trip, they allegedly took her cellphone and wallet; Robb pointed what appeared to be a gun at her for the entire ride. Investigators later learned the handguns used were fake, but the victim testified that she thought they were real.

When Howell and Robb arrived in Milwaukee, they put the woman and her daughters in the basement of the house where they were staying, which was the home of Pearson-Robb’s mother.

The family was given a bucket to use as a toilet. The conspirators brought Happy Meals from McDonald’s for the children.

Investigators theorize that Pearson-Robb was supposed to drive the conspirators’ car back to Milwaukee, but it broke down in Racine County, and he had to call for a ride.

In the early-morning hours of the next day, the woman and her two children were transported to Wells Fargo in Racine.

Once the bank manager gained entry to the bank, she was threatened at gunpoint until she was able to give the men access to money.

The victim managed to get away and shut a door, locking herself and her two children in the bank with the conspirators on the other side of the locked door.

The conspirators fled with $47,000 but were picked up by law enforcement less than two weeks later.

Victim

While the victim testified at the jury trial, she did not come to court for the sentencing hearing.

DA Patricia Hanson

Racine County District Attorney Patricia Hanson read aloud a letter from the victim Monday. She said she wanted to read it into the record to ensure the defendant heard it. In the letter, the victim outlined the toll the crime has had on her and her two daughters.

District Attorney Patricia Hanson read the victim impact statement into the record.

The victim said she has PTSD as a result of the kidnapping and is “mentally exhausted every day.” The children, too, have nightmares and suffer aftereffects from the kidnapping.

“As hard as I try,” the woman wrote, “my brain can’t stop living that night over and over in my head.”

She continued: “This feels like a battle I might never win” and “a punishment we did nothing to deserve.” The woman added that, on the night of the kidnapping, she wasn’t sure if that would be her last day alive.

She continues with therapy. She said she will continue to pray for the defendants in the hope that one day they could come to know God and become “decent people.”

Sign up for our Crime & Courts newsletter

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.