Bank robber Eddie Prince Roberts sentenced to life in prison

Roberts lawyer says they will appeal his sentence within the next week

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - A man convicted of robbing multiple Columbia banks found out Friday he's going to be spending the rest of his life behind bars. Eddie Roberts was convicted of robbing the Boone County National Bank on Walnut and the Landmark Bank on East Nifong. He also punched a bank teller.

Roberts lawyer, Troy Stabenow, tells ABC 17 News he plans on appealing the sentence within the next week. He said it all surrounds how he got his sentence. The lawyer said the whole argument Friday was over the mandatory life sentence. He said according to the law, he had two prior convictions of bank robberies. The judge was required to hand down a life sentence. Stabenow said the supreme court is expected to look at the law in the near future.

In the meantime, Roberts will be sent off to prison. There's no federal prison in Missouri. Stabenow said he could be sent to Leavenworth, Kansas, Indiana, or anywhere that has an open bed.

But there is no chance for parole in federal prison. Stabenow said it's important they appeal.

"It has to do specifically on whether the judge had to give him life imprisonment just because of some prior convictions, or whether it was the jury's job to find that he had certain type of prior conviction," Stabenow said.

If they do end up winning the appeal, Roberts will not get life. His maximum sentence would be 20 years per robbery. He could be in prison for anywhere from 0-40 years. Stabenow said it could be another year to 18 months before a decision would be made.

Before the Columbia robberies he'd already been convicted of six others.

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