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Last of Three-Man Los Angeles Robbery Crew Sentenced to Federal Prison for Armed Bank Robbery Bank Tellers Threatened in Violent Bank Robbery

U.S. Attorney’s Office November 04, 2009
  • District of Oregon (503) 727-1000

PORTLAND, OR—Trayvon Mike Betterson, 24, of Los Angeles, California, was sentenced on November 3, 2009, by United States District Judge James A. Redden to 105 months in federal prison, to be followed by a three-year term of supervised release, for his role in an armed bank robbery at the Raleigh Hills branch of U.S. Bank.

The defendant was part of a three-man robbery crew that hit the Raleigh Hills branch of U.S. Bank branch at 8205 S.W. Beaverton Hillsdale Highway, in Washington County. Jonathan Longmire and Trayvon Mike Betterson, initially ran into the bank shortly after it opened on September 5, 2007. There were several customers in the bank when defendant Betterson jumped the teller counter and immediately restrained a victim by grabbing her and forcing her to the ground. Longmire, armed with a loaded .357 magnum handgun, ordered a customer to the ground and then grabbed another bank employee, at gun point, and ordered her onto the ground. Longmire told Betterson to put another victim teller on the ground, which he did and then tied her up with plastic flex-type restraints. Betterson then tried to get an employee to open the vault. When she told him there was no money in it he put her back on the ground and tied her up with plastic ties. Longmire, frustrated by their inability to get money from the vault, further threatened the employees and told one of the tellers that “it’s not your money, it’s the bank’s money, it’s not worth dying for, give us the cash.” Betterson then had a teller open the cash drawers and he took approximately $2,256. Three of the employees in the bank suffered physical injuries from being grabbed, forced to the ground and restrained.

While the robbery was unfolding, the other co-defendant and get-away driver, Christopher Augustus Swanson, entered the bank to see what was taking so long. After Swanson entered the bank he saw himself on a video monitor. Once he saw the monitor he jumped over the counter and tried to find the video machine and tape, but wasn’t able to. Swanson then told his co-defendants that “someone is coming” and they all ran out of the bank together.

Officers responded to the robbery and quickly located the defendants driving away. After a short pursuit the car stopped and all three defendants ran. All defendants were caught and taken into custody. The gun and stolen cash were found in the vehicle.

The defendants were charged with Armed Bank Robbery and all pled guilty to the charges. On April 28, 2009, Swanson, age 30, was sentenced to 100 months in prison, to be followed by five years of supervised release. On October 27, 2009, Longmire, age 26, was sentenced to 110 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release. On November 3, 2009, Betterson, age 24, was sentenced to 105 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release.

At the sentencing hearing a representative from US Bank, addressed the Court. She told the Court that “[o]ur employees have lived with the terror of the events of September 5, 2007, for over two years. While the suspects have been held in prison for over two years, so have our employees. The staff has been forced to live with this nightmare and have scars that will never go away.”

In sentencing Betterson, Judge Redden noted that the “bank robbery was the worst ever described in this Court” and that “the people in the bank went through hell.”

Acting U.S. Attorney Kent S. Robinson echoed these comments, noting that “this was a truly violent and terrifying crime which was successfully investigated and prosecuted based upon the longstanding cooperation between local and federal law enforcement agencies.”

All three defendants are felons who were associated, at one point, with various Crip gang sets in Los Angeles, California.

This case was investigated by the Beaverton Police Department, the Portland Police Bureau, the Hillsboro Police Department, Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Tigard Police Department, Tualatin Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Scott Kerin, the head of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Gang Unit.

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