Coon pleads guilty to bank robbery

By Sarah Hawley -

POMEROY — A Pomeroy man who was charged with the June 2019 robbery of the Farmers Bank branch in Tuppers Plains has pleaded guilty to the robbery.

Jeffrey A. Coon, 48, pleaded guilty to the single count of robbery, a felony of the second degree, as indicted in July.

According to previous Sentinel reports, on Saturday, June 15, a man entered the bank, allegedly demanded money and then fled on foot toward State Route 681. The man, identified as Coon, was alleged to have approached the teller, demanding money and threatening to blow up the bank if he did not receive the money.

In court on Tuesday, Coon alleged that his co-defendant David McMurray had told him what to write on the note, drove him to Tuppers Plains and dropped him off at the Cool Spot to walk to the bank. The allegations against McMurray are still pending in Meigs County Common Pleas Court. McMurrary is charged with one count of complicity to robbery, a felony of the second degree.

In addition to pleading guilty to the charge, Coon agreed to testify truthfully against McMurray should his case proceed to trial.

Judge Linda Warner accepted Coon’s guilty plea and sentenced him to an indefinite term of 5 to 7 1/2 years in prison, in accordance to the recommendation of Prosecutor James K. Stanley and defense attorney Britt Wiseman.

Coon’s prison sentence will not begin until he has completed his current prison term for violating his community control. Coon had been granted judicial release a few weeks before the robbery in June, and was sent back to prison following his arrest, a violation of the terms of his community control. He will also be subject to three years of mandatory post release control following his release from prison.

Representatives from Farmers Bank were in attendance for the hearing on Tuesday and had submitted written victim impact statements to the court.

Victim Assistance Director Theda Petrasko read two of the statements in court, including one from the teller who was approached by Coon that day in the bank. The statements spoke to the psychological impact of the robbery on them and how it has impacted their lives since that day.

This is not the first time the bank, and many of the employees, have been through a robbery.

The Farmers Bank in Tuppers Plains was previously robbed in 2009, 2013 and 2015.

According to previously published Daily Sentinel reports, Sean Bradford Mitchell, formerly of Athens, robbed the bank in September 2009 before fleeing to Mississippi. He then reportedly robbed a bank there in what he says was an attempt to be shot by authorities. He was apprehended by law enforcement following a standoff in November 2009.

Under questioning, Mitchell reportedly told law enforcement that he had robbed the Farmers Bank in Tuppers Plains. He is currently serving eight years in a Mississippi prison for that crime. He was sentenced to 15 years, with the final seven years as post-release control. He is scheduled to be released in 2022, according to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.

Another robbery occurred in May 2013 when Chad R. Rennicker, then 25, entered the bank with a gun and demanded money. He and an accomplice were arrested June 1, 2013, in Ripley, W.Va.

Rennicker was charged in that incident with six counts of kidnapping and one count of aggravated robbery, all of which merge for sentencing purposes. On Sept. 30, 2013, Judge Mike Ward sentenced Rennicker to eight years in prison to run consecutive to the time he is currently serving in another unrelated case from Belmont County. He is scheduled for release in 2023.

His accomplice was not charged, according to previous reports.

In June 2015, Amanda Sawyer, then 31, entered the bank with a nylon stocking over her head and sunglasses to cover her eyes. She was apprehended more than six weeks later while reportedly planning to rob the TNT Pit Stop in Chester.

Sawyer was sentenced to nine years in prison for her crimes and was ordered to pay back the money she stole from the bank. She remains incarcerated with an estimated release date in 2024.

By Sarah Hawley

Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.

Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.