The Barbie Bandits

allen.jpgOne of the persons involved in this idiotic fiasco is a close friend to a couple of people I love dearly. Out of respect for their friendship I held my peace and delayed posting about the unfolding drama. I wanted to see how it would play out even though I suspected it would end just as it did. But hell, you didn’t have to have a degree in quantum physics to figure it out.

Benny Allen has spent time with my family, shared meals with us, celebrated some of life’s milestones with us (he attended my 40th birthday party), and has been a visitor in not only my sister’s home, but mine also.

Nothing about this young man would have given anyone an inclination that he would make such a profoundly stupid decision. Oh, I could point to my intuition that something didn’t quite sit right with me about him, but nothing I could point to specifically because he was never disrespectful nor rude. In fact, he was quiet and well mannered. But nonetheless, there was just something about him that warned me to keep him at arms’ length.

However, I was still surprised when in early March, 2007 I received word that Benny was arrested in connection to the Barbie Bandit heist.


My sister called me yesterday, after the sentencing was announced on the local news, all in an tizzy. She was outraged. (I’ll get to that in a moment)

johnston.jpgmiller.jpgOne of the Barbie Bandits, Heather Johnston, received 10 years on probation, community service and a $2,000 fine. In August, 2007, Heather pleaded guilty to her part in the bank heist and agreed to testify against the mastermind, Michael Chastang. She was the first to accept responsibility for her part.

The other, Ashley Miller, received 2 years in jail and 8 years on probation.

Benny Allen received a 5 year jail sentence and 5 years on probation. Two things played a big part in the length of his sentence. First, at the time of the crime he was already on a 5 year probation for drug possession in Bartow County. Second, and most important, he did not uphold his agreement to testify against Michael Chastang. Read the story here and here.

michaelchastang.jpgThe mastermind behind this mess, Michael Chastang, was sentenced today to 10 years in jail. This sentence will be served out consecutively with a 15 year prison term he is currently serving on drug charges meaning he will be incarcerated for 25 years plus another 15 years on probation. Read more here.

Back to my sister’s “outrage“. She thought it was a “miscarriage of justice” (her words, not mine), that Benny received 5 years while one girl received no jail time and the other only 2 years. She felt they all should have received the same amount of time. Apparently so did a lot of other people because, according to my sister, many were calling into one local radio station voicing their outrage.

If you’re going to be pissed off and angry with anyone, it should be Benny. First for being so dayum stupid to agree to participate in this bullshit – a decision that was probably reached after smoking a couple of dubies with the criminally inept “Mike-Mike” (Chastang’s street moniker). Secondly, for not following through with the agreement to testify against that fool. Why not? Who knows!! Heather’s people got her squared away early in the game. She stepped to the plate, entered her guilty plea..virtually throwing herself on the mercy of the Judge.

Sis, I love you but respectfully I ask that you please spare me your loud indignation about how “unfair” you think the outcome was. Accountability, Humility, and Cooperation goes a long way with judges who will be determining your fate. Benny missed the boat on all three and now will pay the price. The best we can do is keep him, and his mother, in our prayers.

21 thoughts on “The Barbie Bandits

  1. Just why do people chose to get themselves into this king of nonsense after seeing example after example that it simply does NOT pay off. SMDH

  2. What you wrote makes no sense!

    If someone tells you to beat some up.
    You will be charged with assault.
    The person that TOLD you to do it will NOT be in any trouble.
    It is your fault for listening…

    That is why the TELLER and THE TWO GIRLS should not have reduced sentencing for testimony against the so called mastermind.
    Blaming someone else is not taking responsibility for your actions.
    However, in our disgusting legal system, if you can find someone “BLACK” to blame for your transgressions you are forgiven by GOD. In this case God is portrayed by the judge.

    Crime is basically taking a risk… . . the people who take the risk are those that know they are LEAST likely to get caught.
    Those that know they are LEAST likely to spend a long period of time in prison.

    Is it not worth the risk for an Executive to steal millions from their company? The jail term is worth one or two years in a federal company club, and those are the few actually caught.

    Go into a court room.. at least 60% of the people are black.
    Another 25% are hispanic.

    With that simple observation would you take any risks if you are in that demographic?

    Haven’t any of these people who are now adults been in school?
    Four kids are playing around in a classroom… but only 2 get detention. The teacher DECIDES whom they like and dislike to determine punishment. Life has not changed.

    1. If you have ever studied the law…. you would know this isn’t the case. Perfect example, Murder for hire. The person who hired the hit man gets more time then the hit man. Robbing a bank is a FEDERAL offense. Different rules different ball game. There are many examples in law where the person who “masterminded” a plan received more time then the ones who actually carriedd it out. Please do your research before you make something a racial issue!!!

    2. Oh Marc it wasn’t a colored thing till you made it one. There’s always one of you around huh Marc. What’s wrong you didn’t get your drugs today so you thought you’d make something out of nothing. Grow up it’s 2012, get a job, and try passing the drug test. Don’t you get tired of making everything about the color of ones skin. The guy was already on his way to jail for wheeling and dealing. Why don’t you support someone who actually is trying to make the world a safer place for our kids instead of selling drugs to young and impressionable girls.

  3. Choc, you are amazing. Well thought out, well written. I am proud of you for writing and speaking your mind, and not being afraid to state your position even when not everyone will agree. Stay strong.

  4. Marc, what I wrote makes no sense? MmmmKay.

    First, THE TWO GIRLS got reduced sentences because they pleaded guilty to their roles in the crime. They admitted to what they did, their actions. In return for their cooperation with the Prosecutor, they received lighter sentences. Second, THE TELLER, didn’t receive as stiff a sentence because he didn’t initiate and orchestrate the plan. Had he COOPERATED as the two girls, his sentence would have been lighter as well.

    None of them “blamed” Chastang for their actions.

    Third, Mike-Mike has a criminal record dating back 7 years which include weapons, firearms, and drug charges. Not counting the 15 year term he was serving before the bank heist sentence was handed down, he had previously did a stint in prison. Good ole Mike-Mike had established himself as a career criminal, thus justifying his stiff sentence.

    Had you read the links provided within my original post it might have been easier for you to comprehend.

    Your statement:
    However, in our disgusting legal system, if you can find someone “BLACK” to blame for your transgressions you are forgiven by GOD. In this case God is portrayed by the judge.

    This statement wreaks of a victim mentality…someone who refuses to accept responsibility for their own actions because it is the “white man’s” fault….the white man has all the power and I’m so helpless. BLAH, BLAH, BLAH.

    I agree the judicial system is FLAWED, very flawed. I agree that Black and Hispanics make up the majority in the prison systems due to harsher sentencing by judges. HOWEVER, my belief is the judge was FAIR with regards to the judgement handed down for Benny Allen.

    It makes perfect sense but if you don’t happen to agree…oh well.

  5. Well said Choc. I was disappointed when I heard that the teller didn’t cooperate. He brought those 5 years on himself. Maybe these years in prison will make him wiser.

  6. Rawdawg…how about making better life choices. Like deciding NOT to participate and being the “inside man” of a scheme to steal $11,000 from the bank in which you’re employed?

  7. Ditto Choc! People need to think for themselves and not allow someone to convince you to do things that you know are morally wrong. I’m sure Mr. Allen knew the consequences for not being cooperative. Sadly though, some of our young people honor this hood mentality that ‘they ain’t snitching’ regardless of the outcome.

  8. I agree with you 100%. I might feel differently if he hadn’t been on probation prior to this offense. This was very well written.

  9. Wow, stupidity going to seed (as my mother loves to say)…
    Great post Choc!!! I totally agree!
    First of all this fool was already on probation, secondly he did not keep his agreement, thirdly he should have learned from his previous run ins with the law.
    I am saddened but not at all surprised by the reactions of those who think Benny was treated unfairly. I have come to realize that black people are sometime more racist than white people. If that had been all black folks everyone would be saying they got what they deserved but since you through 2 white chicks in the mix now it’s all unfair, the white girls got off easy, what an outrage, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH! People stop crying, you do the crime, do the time…or cooperate with the DA! Forget about your mans and nem!!!

  10. I fully understand those of you saying the Barbie bandits’ cooperation with authorities was the reason for their reduced sentences. The one thousand pound gorilla in the room everyone seem to be ignoring is the fact that these people robbed a bank, that is a federal offense-and even with cooperation both girls should have recieved prison time. Take it form a guy who ahs been on the inside, literally. I have had numerous conversations white men and black men convicted of the same crimes and overwhelmingly black men, or black people regardless of race are locked away for longer periods of time. Chastang is an idiot, so please do not think that I am defending him. However, Heather and Ashley got off and anyone who has experienced our country’s no so just legal system knows better.

  11. Gpaul – because the bank teller, Benny, was in on the crime, the authorities changed the charges for Heather and Ashley to theft by taking thus no federal charges.

  12. Okay, I have been quiet on this case until now! The radio had their version, folk at work and now…

    Let’s look at the case: two girls, a teller and the “master mind!” The two girls cooperated, each at different times, there sentence is light and the teller said he would cooperate and when the time came, didn’t. That makes me say, hmmm? Why didn’t he cooperate. What made him not testify against the “master mind?” Did the entire plan to rob the bank play out like it was told to the prosecution or did it play out differently? We may never know! But, I do know, something about this case just isn’t correct…

    On the light sentence and do I feel the sentences fit the crime? No! I feel that if you are stupid enough to commit a crime, then you should be bold enough to receive whatever time given.

    It was a plan by all of them to rob the bank. All of them should have been punished for the act of crime (bank robbery) not their part and how well they cooperate with prosecution. Our justice system is jacked!

    My opinons…

  13. Benny Allen is the mastermind.. he was the one asking everybody to come to his job and rob him and the two girls brought up that they wanted to rob a bank.. so mike just introduce them that is all he is guilty for!!! He didn’t plan anything so stop talking shit about it if you don’t no shit!!!

    1. And just who’s going to make me? You? Don’t think so. Thanks for coming by though. Now…GTFOH. Mmmkay..buh bye. Coming in here all late to the party and talking mad shit from behind your keyboard and computer screen. LOL

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