A Greenup County man was sentenced Friday to seven years in prison after pleading guilty to a pair of robberies.
William Schniztker, 28, of Flatwoods, entered guilty pleas to two counts of second-degree robbery, Boyd Commonwealth’s Attorney David Justice said.
The first incident occurred on Feb. 7 of last year. Schnitzker followed a woman from the Dollar General store in Westwood and asked to use her cell phone. When she handed it to him, he allegedly grabbed her purse and fled, Justice said.
The second robbery was a bank holdup that occurred four days after the purse-snatching at the Citizens National Bank branch at 4017 Blackburn Ave. Schnitzker entered the bank and demanded money, telling employees he was armed with a knife and would “fight them to the death” unless he got it, police said. Employees complied, and the robber fled on foot.
Schnitzker was arrested a week after the robbery at a Motel 6 in Mobile, Ala. Police traced him there from phone calls he made to friends and family in the Ashland area. The U.S. Marshal Service Fugitive Task Force in Jacksonville, Fla., was involved in the capture.
Schnitzker was originally charged with first-degree robbery in the bank heist, but Justice said he agreed to reduce the charge because, while Schnitzker told the bank employees he was armed, there was no evidence he actually had a weapon.
Also, a third robbery charge, involving a knifepoint robbery that occurred Feb. 8, 2011, at the Jane Hill Chevron, was dismissed under the terms of Schnitzker’s plea agreement, Justice said.
Boyd Circuit Judge C. David Hagerman sentenced Schnitzker to seven years for the bank robbery and five years for the purse-snatching, with the terms to run concurrently. However, the sentences will run consecutively with a five-year robbery sentenced from Greenup County, for a total effective sentence of 12 years, Justice said.
Under state sentencing guidelines, Schnitzker will be eligible for parole after he has served 20 percent of his time. He also will be credited with the year he has already spent in custody. However, given Schnitzker’s record and the nature of his offenses, Justice said he would be “flabbergasted” if he made parole on his first try.
Studies also have shown the overwhelming majority of offenders in Kentucky are not granted parole the first time they seek it.
Justice said he was satisfied with the outcome of the case, considering the evidence he had at his disposal.
He said there were no eyewitnesses who were able to conclusively tie Schnitzker to the Citizens National robbery, and that the main piece of evidence against him was a partial handprint found at the scene that was determined to be Schnitzker’s.
Given that, he said it was likely a jury would have convicted, but, it was by no means a certainty, either.
Justice also praised the work of Ashland Police Department Detective Richard Bohanon on the case, saying he did an “outstanding” job.
KENNETH HART can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or