On Friday, May 28, a federal jury convicted 49-year-old Lacentrusa Barron Mayweather of Winnfield on charges stemming from the robberies of two banks in northwest Louisiana in April of 2019; Bank of Montgomery in Castor and City Bank and Trust in Campti.
Following a trial which lasted four days, the jury found Mayweather guilty of conspiracy to commit armed bank robbery, two counts of armed bank robbery, and one count of making a false bomb threat.
Mayweather is scheduled to be sentenced on August 27. He faces up to 65 years in prison. The maximum sentence for conspiracy to commit armed bank robbery is up to 5 years, armed bank robbery is up to 25 years on each count, and false bomb threat is up to 10 years.
Mayweather’s co-conspirators, 43-year-old Paul Nash Jr. (some sources list his name as Paul Junior Nash) of Jonesboro and 44-year-old Tabitha Lee Gray of Ball, plead guilty and testified in the trial against Mayweather. Nash is scheduled to be sentenced on June 18, and Gray will be sentenced on August 19.
The Bank Robberies resembled something you would see in a Hollywood movie.
On April 2, 2019, Mayweather, Nash and Gray went to Campti with the intent to rob City Bank and Trust. Investigators concluded that Mayweather reported that there was a bomb at Lakeview High School near Campti as a diversion. Mayweather, the getaway driver, dropped Nash and Gray off near at the bank and waited while Nash and Gray robbed the bank. Three bank employees and two or three customers were inside the bank at the time of the robbery, but none were injured. Nash and Gray returned to the car and the three fled the scene. Eyewitnesses provided a description of the bank robbers and a description of the Chevrolet Malibu which the suspects used as a getaway vehicle.
On April 16, Mayweather, Nash and Gray went to Castor with the intent to rob the Bank of Montgomery. Investigators surmised that the suspects set a fire in a vacant home about a quarter of a mile away from the bank as a diversion. Sheriff Balance said “our guys keyed off the abandoned home on fire as the distraction.”
As with the Campti robbery, Mayweather waited in the getaway car while Nash and Gray robbed the bank. Nash and Gray wore masked and were armed with pistols. As Mayweather waited for Nash and Gray, a Bienville Parish deputy who was in Castor spotted the suspect car. The deputy said the vehicle matched the description of the car involved in the April 2 Campti bank robbery “to the T.” Mayweather tried unsuccessfully to evade the deputy and was arrested within minutes.
Nash and Gray left the bank and realized Mayweather was not waiting for them as they had planned. Nash and Gray fled from the bank on foot. Officers brought in search dogs from David Wade Correctional Center to search for Nash and Gray. A State Police helicopter searched the area from the sky during the daylight. After dark, officers used drones which had the capability to detect heat sources to search for the suspects. Law enforcements officers from neighboring Natchitoches and Red River parishes, along with officers from the State Fire Marshal’s Office also assisted in the search.
Hours later, deputies arrested Gray near a residence after the homeowner confronter her at gunpoint. Gray had the money bag from the Castor bank robbery in her possession. The deputies continued the search for Nash.
One of the captured suspects told deputies that they had put some sort of explosive device at Castor High School prior to the bank robbery. The Bienville Parish school superintendent cancelled school at Castor for April 17 as soon as deputies told him of the threat. A bomb unit from the Shreveport Fired Department and the State Fire Marshal’s Office’s K-9 searched the school but found no explosive device.
Deputies in Bienville and surrounding parishes searched for Nash throughout the night and into the next day. Shortly after 2:00 p.m. on the following day, April 17, Nash was arrested in Jackson Parish. Sheriff John Ballance returned the stolen money to the Castor branch of Bank of Montgomery.
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