Bank robber gets life sentence for murdering teller
BY KIM JANSSEN Federal Courts Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org April 3, 2013 12:56PM
A surveillance photo released by the FBI shows two of three masked gunmen inside the Illinois Service Federal Savings and Loan during a robbery on May 22, 2007, on Chicago's South Side.
Updated: May 5, 2013 2:52PM
A bank robber who murdered a teller during a botched heist on the South Side nearly six years ago has been sentenced to life in prison by a judge who called his case “a horrific tragedy.”
But the harshest words for killer David Vance came from the teller’s father, who branded him “vermin” during an emotional sentencing hearing Wednesday.
Vance, 34, shot dead 23-year-old Tramaine Gibson, a father of two, when Gibson said he couldn’t open the vault at the Illinois Service Federal Savings and Loan in the Chatham neighborhood on May 22, 2007.
Gibson’s dad, Verton Gibson, has been attending court hearings ever since. On Wednesday, he stood just a few feet away from Vance and loudly asked Federal Judge Joan Gotschall to give “this vermin what he deserves.”
“Do what Tramaine did when he went to work that day — do your job,” he added, urging a life sentence as an impassive Vance looked on.
Gotschall replied that the law gave her no choice but to impose a mandatory life sentence without parole, plus an additional 32 years.
She said that Gibson, a criminal justice student who prosecutors said could one day have become the bank president, was the “greatest of the victims” of the heist that ended in a shootout that also left a security guard injured.
But she added, “I can’t agree that anyone coming before me is vermin — I just can’t.”
Referring to sad details about Vance’s life that were laid out in sealed court papers, she said that she wished “somehow our society was able to intervene earlier and better to prevent these tragedies.”
Two men who robbed the bank with Vance are expected to be sentenced to 20-year terms under a plea deal.
Speaking outside court, Gibson’s father said he was glad he would “never have to lay my eyes on David Vance again.”
Wednesday was his 31st wedding anniversary, and he planned to celebrate by taking his wife to dinner and “hugging my grandchildren extra tight,” he said.