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Jury finds bank robber guilty of escape from feds, crime spree

In this phoprovided by Illinois Department Corrections is 39-year-old Robert Maday bank robber who managed overcome two suburban Chicago officers

In this photo provided by the Illinois Department of Corrections is 39-year-old Robert Maday, a bank robber who managed to overcome two suburban Chicago officers who were transporting him Thursday, Sept. 17, 2009. While on the lam, authorities contend 39-year-old Robert Maday boldly robbed the same bank he allegedly robbed before. Police in West Chicago caught Maday on Friday after a car chase ended in a crash. (AP Photo/Illinois Department of Corrections)

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Updated: February 11, 2013 7:26AM

For a few short hours following his escape from federal custody, Robert Maday was a “legend in his own mind,” prosecutors say.

If so, the convicted bank robber now has a lifetime to ponder his foolishness.

A federal jury took just four hours on Wednesday to find the 42-year-old guilty of all five counts connected to his escape from custody and armed bank robbery — that’s 23 hours less than he spent on the run during a wild 27-hour crime spree starting Sept. 17, 2009.

Maday, wearing a blue shirt, shook his head and sighed repeatedly as the verdict that found him guilty of using a gun during the robbery was read out in Judge Ruben Castillo’s courtroom at the end of a five-day trial.

He’s already sentenced to 43 years behind bars in state court, and that second gun conviction means he faces a minimum additional 32 years in federal prison, all but guaranteeing he will die behind bars.

His escape from two Cook County state’s attorney’s investigators who were driving him to the Rolling Meadows courthouse was a major embarrassment for Anita Alvarez’s office, which launched an investigation that led to the resignation of one of the officers.

Evidence at trial showed that Maday slipped out his handcuffs during the ride, then disarmed and handcuffed the investigators and made off with their pants.

He used the stolen guns to carjacked two motorists; robbed a Bloomingdale bank he had previously stuck up, and was on his way to buy a used getaway car when he was spotted by West Chicago Police and crashed, leading to his capture.

Prosecutors showed jurors a letter Maday sent his girlfriend, Lisa Barruzza, ruefully regreting how close he came to making good his escape.

The circumstances presented his attorney, Anthony Sassan, with a tough task.

But in an attempt to limit Maday’s sentence, Sassan focused at length on the gun charges connected to the bank robbery, claiming that a bulge seen under Maday’s shirt on security video footage of the heist was a ball cap or a belt, not a gun.

“I’m not here to tell you that he did not escape,” Sassan said. “But are you convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that the bulge in the shirt is a gun?”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Annie Kastanek ridiculed that argument, saying that police recovered the stolen guns from the car Maday crashed and adding that it “defies common sense that the robber left the gun in the car” during the bank robbery.

She noted that Maday later confessed to the FBI that he was armed and said she needed “only four words” to refute Sassan’s one-and-a-half hour argument.

Those words, which Maday said to a bank teller during the heist, were “I have a gun,” she said.

Speaking outside court after the verdict, her fellow prosecutor Derek Owens said Maday’s convictions would finally bring closure for his victims.

“The tellers were traumatized,” he said.

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