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February 12, 2013

SUGAR LAND - Larrlyon Deshun Williams was convicted by a jury of Aggravated Assault of a Public Servant, Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon and Aggravated Robbery on January 22, 2013. The jury then returned two sentences of 45 years each and 30 years, respectively, late Friday night. The 27 year-old Tennessee man was charged for his part in robbing a bank and leading police on a high-speed chase, including a deadly shootout, in May 2010. Williams' partner in crime, Moufak Kazzaz, was known as the "Reckless Robber" and had been featured on America's Most Wanted.

According to Assistant District Attorney Celena Vinson, Williams drove Kazzaz to the Bank of America located at 17550 Grand Parkway in Sugar Land on May 22, 2010. Kazzaz entered the bank wearing a disguise and carrying a gun. He ordered bank employees to give him the money and not to set off any alarms or he would shoot them. Afterwards, witnesses reported that they saw Kazzaz get into a white van when he left the bank. Williams was driving the van and hid behind another store while he waited for Kazzaz to come out. Fort Bend County Sheriff's Deputy Charlie Scott spotted the van shortly after the defendants left the bank and attempted to pull them over. As soon as the van stopped, the back doors flew open and Kazzaz shot 15 times at the deputy with an AK-47 assault rifle. Scott managed to duck down, but not before he was wounded in the head and arm. Deputy Scott was able to get out of his patrol car and inform other officers which way the van travelled before he was life-flighted to Memorial Hermann Hospital.

The defendants were soon discovered and cornered in a nearby cul-de-sac when the gunman opened fire on the deputies and again sped off. Deputies were able to follow the van for more than 15 minutes as it drove in and out of traffic while Kazzaz was shooting at them with his assault rifle. Deputy C. Banks was forced to pull over after a bullet barely missed his head - shattering his windshield. Williams eventually turned the van onto Dargail Street in Sugar Land when Kazzaz began shooting at pursuing law enforcement - hitting an innocent civilian instead. Arwen McGaw was driving on West Belfort with family members, including two young children, when a bullet went through her vehicle and entered her abdomen. Ms. McGaw was also taken to Memorial Hermann where she underwent a successful surgery.

Deputies Frank Cempa and Carlos Pocosangre continued to follow Williams when the defendant realized he had reached a dead end. Williams spun around, drove through a fence and rammed Deputy Cempa's vehicle. Wrecking the van, Williams and Kazzaz were trapped and unable to flee. Deputies continued to return fire at the back of the van and ordered the men to surrender. After several more shots were fired, the defendant came out with his arms in the air and told deputies that Kazzaz was dead.

Officers searched the back of the van and located three handguns, approximately $77,000 taken in the bank robbery, a bag full of disguises, six magazines containing over 100 additional bullets and the AK-47 Assault Rifle. In conjunction with local law enforcement, the FBI determined that Mouafak Kazzaz was wanted in over 30 bank robberies across Texas.

The State presented cell phone records during the punishment phase of trial showing the defendant's phone was located at, or near, the banks in four prior bank robberies. Williams testified in punishment but could give no explanation for his personal phone being in another city at the same time and place as Kazzaz's.

"If not for the dedication and bravery of all of the deputies in this case, Williams and Kazzaz would still be on the run robbing banks," said Vinson. "The jury's verdict sends a clear message to law enforcement that we appreciate and support you, and the verdict also sends a message to the defendants that put people's lives in danger."

In accordance with the jury's verdict as to punishment, 240th District Court Presiding Judge Thomas R. Culver, III sentenced Williams to serve 45 years in prison and a $10,000 fine on each of the two aggravated assault charges and 30 years in prison for the aggravated robbery. All of the charges are first-degree felonies punishable by 5-99 years or life in prison and a fine up to $10,000. Under Texas law, the three sentences will run concurrently, but Williams must serve at least one-half of his sentences before he can be considered for parole. The defendant was eligible to receive a probated sentence, but the jury agreed with prosecutors and rejected this option.

Assistant District Attorneys Celena Vinson and Amanda Bolin prosecuted the case. Attorney Michael Diaz represented the defendant.

 

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