Springfield woman sentenced to probation in Ware bank robbery

Published: 1/23/2018 10:56:25 AM

NORTHAMPTON – A Springfield woman has been sentenced to four years of probation for her involvement in a Ware bank robbery.

A Hampshire Superior Court jury found Jahira Flores, 32, guilty Monday of three counts of unarmed robbery. Judge Richard Carey sentenced Flores to the probation term with conditions that she have mental health and substance use evaluations, comply with any follow-up treatment and have no contact with the victims.

“I don’t diminish the impact of these bank robberies on the three tellers … I don’t diminish the seriousness of the offense,” Carey said. “She does not belong in state prison.” 

Flores scouted the Monson Savings Bank in Ware days before Edgardo Rivera went into the bank on April 2, 2016, with his face covered, wielding what appeared to be a firearm, and demanded cash from three tellers working at the time. 

Rivera, 34, of Springfield, was convicted in November 2017 of five counts of armed and masked robbery following his trial and was sentenced by Carey to eight to 10 years in state prison to be followed by five years of probation. In addition to the Monson Savings Bank, he robbed the then-Chicopee Savings Bank in South Hadley on March 28, 2016.  A third person, Frances Deleon, 24, of Agawam, has pleaded not guilty to five counts of armed and masked robbery as well as two counts of conspiracy related to both robberies. Deleon testified against Rivera and Flores under a cooperating agreement with prosecutors.

In handing down his sentence, Carey said Flores was a “very, very different case” and a “very, very different defendant” than Rivera and cited factors including her lack of criminal history and that she played no direct role in the robbery.

Flores’ attorney, Colleen Currie, asked that Flores be sentenced to a period of probation that the court deemed appropriate. In making the request, Currie argued that Flores has spent the two years since her arrest making steps to address mental health issues.

“When I first met Ms. Flores, she was a bit of a mess, partly because of the circumstances in which I met her but also her life was in disarray,” Currie said.

Assistant Northwestern District Attorney Jennifer Suhl argued that Flores should be sentenced to two to three years in state prison. Suhl told the judge that while Flores certainly has had a “terrible life,” she did not suffer from the sort of issues that “need to get her out of punishment.”

“PTSD and anxiety do not cause someone to commit or be involved in a bank robbery,” Suhl said.

Emily Cutts can be reached at ecutts@gazettenet.com.
Editor's Note: This story was changed on Jan. 29, 2018, to correct the misspelling of Edgardo Rivera's Name.

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