Teenager charged with bank robbery to be tried as adult

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URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — Both brothers who were arrested for robbing a Champaign bank will be tried as adults.

It happened at the Regions Bank near West Clark and South State Street on October 15th. 18-year-old Dakir Pickens and his 16-year-old brother Dasheem Pickens are charged with the crime.

Prosecutors filed a motion to charge Dasheem as an adult, citing previous criminal history and juvenile delinquency.

Champaign Police Detective Corey Phenicie testified that investigators determined Pickens was involved in several car burglaries around town. Despite previously admitting to a few of the burglaries and cooperating with officers on the matter, Phenicie said Pickens continued to break into cars.

Rietz noted that he failed to appear for a court date. Then, she called Champaign Police Detective Jody Cherry to testify about the Regions Bank robbery.

Cherry testified that surveillance video showed the brothers entering the bank wearing multiple layers of clothing and disguises. He said Dakir yelled a demand for money and fired a round into the ceiling, while Dasheem waited at the door to stand guard.

Cherry said the bank manager ran out a back door, and Dasheem chased after him. He said Dasheem returned, then continued to stand guard while Dakir repeated demands for money, pistol-whipping a bank employee’s head in the process. Cherry said the employee refused to hand over cash.

Cherry said that employee was taken to the hospital with a bloody bandage on her head, and that she was very emotional and distressed about the incident. He said she no longer works at the branch.

After Dakir fired more rounds, but was unable to access the vault, Cherry said the frustrated pair took off and led officers on a foot chase. He noted that the pair apparently ran into an apartment building to change clothes or removed layers, indicating the crime’s premeditation. The two were eventually caught and arrested.

Assistant Public Defender Ramona Sullivan argued that while Dasheem “steals things left and right,” he didn’t commit any acts of violence during the burglaries or the bank robbery.

Calling the bank robbery “an incredibly serious offense,” Presiding Judge Tom DiFanis decided Pickens would be tried as an adult. He argued the car burglary cases gave him a chance to turn his life around in the juvenile justice system, but the Regions Bank robbery proved he didn’t take advantage of that.

Rietz filed the adult charges on Thursday morning. Pickens is charged with Armed Violence, Financial Institution Robbery, and Aggravated Battery. He faces up to 30 years for the Armed Violence charge alone. His bond was set at $250,000.

Pickens will be back in court in December for a pretrial hearing.

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