Jamal Castille, one of three men whom authorities said escaped April 19 from the Harris County Jail, was sentenced this morning in federal court to almost 20 years in prison for bank robbery.
U.S. District Court Judge Clay Land delivered his ruling after taking several factors into consideration, including Castille's guilty plea to the Sept. 10, 2008 Columbus Bank and Trust Co. heist and his recent escape.
In addition to pleading guilty to the bank robbery, Castille, 21, was also prepared to testify against his co-defendants should the government call upon him, said his attorney Bill Mason. Castille's willingness to cooperate with authorities likely would have earned him some leniency with Assistant U.S. Attorney Mel Hyde, who could have in turn asked the judge to consider a lesser sentence, Mason said. The Columbus attorney estimated his client faced between 10 and 12 years in prison before he walked out of the Harris County Jail through a faulty emergency exit door.
Castille's 235 months in prison will be followed by two years of supervised release. The defendant was also ordered to pay restitution to Columbus Bank and Trust Co. in the amount of $200,000.
For more on this story, please read tomorrow's Ledger-Enquirer.