Local man to plead guilty to bank robbery

A Marshalltown man charged in a 2012 armed bank robbery and police officer shooting will plead guilty to first-degree robbery.

Abel Ramirez, 23, during a pre-trial conference Monday, said he was prepared to enter a guilty plea on the charge stemming from the Lennox Employees Credit Union robbery.

Ramirez, who was sentenced to 14 years in prison on federal charges, will face a maximum sentence of 25 years for the Class B felony. He’s required to serve 70 percent of that sentence before he’s eligible for parole.

Assistant Marshall County Attorney Paul Crawford said video evidence supported Ramirez’s role in the robbery.

Crawford said a court hearing and sentencing could occur as soon as Monday.

Ramirez was initially charged with attempted murder, first-degree theft, assault while participating in a felony, willful injury, extortion and assault causing injury to a peace officer for his role as an accomplice. Those charges were dropped as part of the plea agreement.

Ramirez, and his accomplice, Benjamin J. Crisantos, 23, were charged after the two entered the bank, 1004 E. Main St., with guns and demanded money. As the two fled, Marshalltown police officers pursued them on foot. Crisantos shot Officer Vern Jefferson in the leg and Jefferson returned fire. Crisantos and Ramirez were apprehended in a short time.

The men both pleaded guilty to federal charges.

In November, a judge ordered Crisantos to undergoing psychiatric evaluation before he faces state charges.

According to court documents, the state agrees there is probable cause that Crisantos is suffering from a mental disorder. Until an evaluation has been completed, further proceedings are suspended. Crisantos was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison after pleaded guilty to federal charges.

Contact Abigail Pelzer at 641-753-6611 or apelzer@timesrepublican.com