According to court documentation, Vance Smith, 38, Plainfield, is the alleged suspect in the Poland First Financial Bank robbery Nov. 23, 2007, and a separate bank robbery in Darlington, Ind., on Oct. 31, 2007.
On Jan. 28, Smith was formally charged in Clay Circuit Court with a class C felony robbery charge and a class C felony operating a vehicle after forfeiture of license for life. A review of Smith's prior criminal record, which showed he has accumulated three prior felony convictions, led to an additional filing of the habitual offender charge.
On Oct. 6, Smith appeared with his attorney Laura Paul before Judge Joseph Trout to enter a preliminary guilty plea as part of negotiated plea agreement with the Clay County Prosecutor's Office for court consideration.
Smith agreed to plead guilty to the robbery and operating a vehicle after forfeiture of license for life charges and be sent to the Indiana Department of Correction (IDOC) for concurrent sentence of 5 years, which would be suspended with the exception of 3 years to be served with good time credit (if earned) and credit for time previously served. The terms of the agreement were to be consecutive to any parole sentence Smith might have previously received.
Upon release, Smith would have been placed on formal probation for two years and agree to obey all laws, pay court costs and make restitution of $11,692 to the victims, have no contact with First Financial Bank or its employees, and not possess or consume alcohol or possess a firearm or ammunition. He also agreed to be subject to random drug screenings, waive constitutional rights for searches of his person, residence or vehicle and provide a DNA sample to authorities.
Upon reviewing the voluntary plea agreement, Trout rejected it on Nov. 3 and allowed time for Smith and his counsel to decide if he would make a motion to withdraw the previous guilty plea and continue with court proceedings.
If convicted of the original formal charges, Smith could face 2-8 years imprisonment and a fine of $10,000 per felony charge.
Returned to the custody of the Clay County Justice Center, Smith is expected to appear in court Wednesday for further court proceedings regarding the matter.
Trout also shot down another negotiated plea agreement for a separate robbery suspect.
On May 19, Pierce was charged as an adult when the court issued an arrest warrant for him on charges of a B felony armed robbery charge, D felony theft charge and a class A misdemeanor criminal trespass. Later that same day, Pierce turned himself in at the Clay County Justice Center.
Two days later, Pierce appeared for formal arraignment on the charges in Clay Circuit Court.
On Oct. 27, Pierce appeared with his attorney James Organ before Trout to enter a preliminary guilty plea as part of negotiated plea agreement with the prosecutor's office.
Pierce agreed to plead guilty to a lesser charge of C felony robbery with all remaining counts to be dropped by the state. He would be sentenced with 5 years at the IDOC, with all suspended with the exception of 2 years to be served with good time credit (if earned) and credit for time previously served.
Upon release he would be put on probation for 3 years where he would obey all laws and pay court and court appointed program fees, make restitution but make no contact with the victims and fully cooperate with the prosecution and testify truthfully in further court proceedings. He also agreed to be subject to random drug screenings, waive constitutional rights for searches of his person, residence or vehicle and provide a DNA sample to authorities.
On Nov. 12, Trout rejected the agreement. Pierce was granted time with his counsel to decide if he would make a motion to withdraw the previous guilty plea and continue with court proceedings.
If convicted of the original formal charges, Pierce could face a maximum of 6-20 years of imprisonment for the B felony charge, 1/2-3 years on the D felony, up to 1 year for the misdemeanor charge and a fine of $10,000 for per felony charge.
Still incarcerated, Pierce is also expected to appear before Trout per the court schedule Wednesday.