One 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)
One 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.
The 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.