Indiana bank robbery suspect planned to use cash to pay off football team's expenses, feds say

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A suspect in a deadly Indiana bank robbery earlier this month planned to use some of the money stolen in the theft to help payoff expenses for his semi-pro football team, federal prosecutors said.

Hailey Gist-Holden, of Gary, is alleged to have planned to use some of the $9,000 taken from the Gary bank to help pay for expenses accumulated from an Illinois semi-pro team, investigators said in a 17-page court filing unsealed Tuesday obtained by WFLD in Chicago.

Federal officials said Gist-Holden knew his alleged accomplice James King Jr., of Miami, through the Illini Panthers of the MidStates Football League.

The bank robbery occurred on June 11. Gist-Holden, 26, is accused of killing security guard Richard Castella at the bank. King was arrested near the Gary bank where the theft occurred. Gist-Holden was arrested in Georgia on June 18 after a high-speed pursuit.

“The murder of Richard Castellana was a senseless act of violence,” Acting U.S. Attorney General Tina Nommay said. “Our hearts go out to Mr. Castellana’s family and those other victims terrorized by these criminal acts. Thanks go out to all our law enforcement partners locally and around the country in their determined efforts to apprehend King and Gist-Holden.”

Two days after the robbery occurred, the Illini Panthers wrote on their Facebook page that they would no longer compete in the league over a dispute about assigning referees to one of their games. The team accused the league of mismanagement and vowed to explore other options.

The league on June 14 determined the team violated league policies. The league released all players under contract with the team.

Gist-Holden was the team owner, according to WFLD. He had reportedly been paying for his players to stay at a hotel but his credit card had been declined and the hotel said the players needed to use their own cards.

Alleged accomplice King, 24, was indicted for armed bank robbery and for using, carrying, brandishing and discharging a firearm during that robbery causing the death of the security guard.

According to WGN-TV, King pleaded not guilty and told authorities Gist-Holden was the shooter.

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