NEW YORK – A dying New Yorker dubbed the “Broadway Bandit” was arrested Tuesday on charges stemming from a bank robbery that occurred only nine days following his release from prison after serving time for robbing five banks.
Jamie Frierson, 49, of Manhattan, was back in federal custody, charged with robbing a Bronx bank last Wednesday.
William F. Sweeney Jr., head of New York’s FBI office, said in a release that Frierson “clearly did not learn his lesson.”
U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman called it a “repeat performance.”
New York Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill credited the fast arrest to the close bond between the banking community and local, state and federal law enforcement partners.
The bank robbery that led to Frierson’s arrest came nine days after an April 29 sentencing that featured a passionate defense argument for leniency based on Frierson’s need for liver-cancer treatment after receiving a prognosis that he was likely to live only two more years.
The sentencing came after Frierson was convicted by a jury last August of collecting over $10,000 by robbing five banks in less than two weeks a year earlier.
“We couldn’t have gotten worse news, frankly, on the eve of sentencing,” his lawyer, Assistant Federal Defender Sylvie Levine, told U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres.
“I apologize profusely to the tellers as I didn’t mean to scare anyone,” Frierson told the judge. “If I have to die, I’m just hoping that I can die around my family and not prison.”
Prosecutors requested a substantial sentence, citing a criminal record that included 3 ½ years in prison for a string of robberies, and the judge noted that federal sentencing guidelines called for a prison term of over 17 years.
Prosecutors also cited testimony by bank tellers that they felt frightened for themselves and the public when Frierson handed them notes demanding money and saying he was either armed or had a gun.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Aline Flodr said one ran into a back room “in paralyzed panic” while another teller’s mother believes that her daughter’s encounter with Frierson was a precipitating factor in a psychological break she suffered.
Flodr also noted that he committed the five bank robberies less than a month after finishing another prison sentence.
At sentencing, the judge said Frierson’s life expectancy was short and added that the failure of doctors to diagnose his colon cancer for more than a year left her skeptical that he would receive necessary medical care in prison.