AP NEWS

Jury to hear closing arguments in deadly armored truck heists trial

March 28, 2019

Jurors are set to hear closing arguments Thursday in Houston following eight days of gripping federal court testimony about four men accused of helping in pair of armored truck heists, one deadly, the second a high-tech police sting.

The first crime in what one prosecutor called a “shoot-first-rob-later” scheme involved a sniper who shot a security courier, David Guzman, from a distance on Aug. 29, 2016, at a Wells Fargo branch at U.S. 290 and Hollister. As the courier lay dying, robbers moved in for what turned out to be $120,000 cash. Two defendants are charged in that deadly heist. All four are charged in the thwarted December 2016 robbery attempt at an Amegy Bank of Texas branch.

Law enforcement had been tipped off about the alleged ringleader, Redrick Batiste, and had been tracking his cell phone via wiretap for weeks. Police had set up video and audio recording equipment inside a stolen rental car that he apparently drove the day of the failed heist.

An FBI investigator told jurors that Batiste died during a shootout with law enforcement officers. He testified that Batiste’s crew was trying to rob a courier at the Amegy branch when they were surprised by officers in an armored Brink’s truck. Jurors heard audio of phone calls between Batiste and each of the various defendants and saw surveillance footage from inside Batiste’s car and of two men - whom the agent identified as two of the defendants -- fleeing the scene.

Four men face charges arising from this alleged robbery attempt.

Marc Anthony Hill, 48, is charged with being the lookout and is accused in both robberies, as is his nephew, Nelson Alexander Polk, 40, the alleged getaway driver.

John Edward Scott, 43, was allegedly in a decoy car and is accused of helping set up a hotel where the crew planned to convene after the robbery.

Bennie Charles Philips, Jr., 31, was allegedly planning to grab the cash.

Gabrielle Banks covers federal court for the Houston Chronicle. Follow her on Twitter and send her tips at gabrielle.banks@chron.com.