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Bank robber who fired shot during hold-up sentenced to nine years behind bars

Adam Hayden, who held up a TD Bank on Kelsey Drive last fall, pleaded guilty to several charges Wednesday in provincial court in St. John’s.
Adam Hayden. - SaltWire File Photo

Adam Hayden also gets three months for unrelated shoplifting charge

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. —

Crown and defence lawyers were significantly far apart when it came to their ideas for a jail sentence for Adam Hayden: one argued that 13 years behind bars was appropriate, while the other argued for eight years.

Wednesday morning, Judge Jacqueline Brazil sentenced Hayden to nine years in prison for his role in an armed robbery at a St. John’s bank last November, as well as three extra months for an unrelated shoplifting charge.

Hayden, 33, and Travis Wade, 31, were arrested Nov. 23, after two suspects entered the TD Bank branch on Kelsey Drive around 7:45 p.m., masked and armed with a knife and a shotgun.

Hayden fired a shot into the floor during the robbery, and pointed the gun at an employee’s back while forcing him to open a safe.

“Give us the money. Don’t mess with us. Don’t make me shoot you tonight,” Hayden told bank staff.

Wade was arrested after the suspects crashed their pickup on nearby O’Leary Avenue while attempting to make a getaway on slippery snow-covered streets. Hayden ran from the truck and attempted to carjack a couple on Kenmount Road, pointing a gun at the driver, who happened to be an off-duty RCMP officer. The man held Hayden until members of the RNC arrived to arrest him.

A forensic identification truck parked outside the TD Bank on Kelsey Drive. - SaltWire File Photo
A forensic identification truck parked outside the TD Bank on Kelsey Drive. - SaltWire File Photo

Hayden, who indicated at his first appearance in court that he wanted to plead guilty, was convicted of two counts of robbery, wearing a disguise with the intention to commit a crime, using a firearm while committing an indictable offence, unlawfully discharging a firearm knowing people were present, unlawfully possessing a firearm, and pointing a firearm.

He was also convicted of theft under $5,000 for attempting to steal a cart of groceries from a St. John’s supermarket the day before the armed robbery.

At his sentencing hearing in May, Hayden apologized for his actions, saying he had not gotten over the trauma of his father dying by suicide at home while the rest of the family was in the house. Hayden was 16 at the time.

“I thought I overcame it, but I didn’t,” Hayden told the court, saying he had been high and drunk during the robbery. I get depressed.”

Kevin Foley of Turnings, a non-profit group focused on helping offenders reintegrate into the community and turn their life around, told the court at that hearing that he had counselled Hayden for a number of years.

“Adam is extremely sincere. Underneath it all, and I’m not trying to diminish the seriousness of his crimes, I believe he wants all this nonsense to stop,” Foley said.

Prosecutor Tannis King pointed out Hayden had many opportunities to change his life for the better, but hadn’t done so despite support. Lots of people are depressed and don’t rob banks, she said.

“The loving opinions of his family and friends don’t change the fact that this individual resorts to violence when he wants or needs something,” King said.

Brazil didn’t give the reasons for her sentencing decision aloud in court Wednesday - saying she would be filing a written version - but explained she had arrived at a nine-year, three-month sentence after determining the majority of Hayden’s offences were part of a single criminal adventure.

In cases where there are multiple offences related to one incident, the law requires judges to determine an appropriate sentence for each crime, then consider whether to order them served concurrently or consecutively on the basis of a single criminal adventure.

With 335 days credit given for the time he has spent in custody, Hayden‘s sentence is just over eight years.

Hayden was previously convicted for his role in a hostage-taking at Her Majesty’s Penitentiary in 2013, in which he and five other inmates took an inmate hostage in exchange for cigarettes, causing about $100,000 of damage to the prison in the process. Hayden made a plea deal and received a 10-month jail sentence for a charge of interfering with lawful use of property.

Wade, who is facing charges of armed robbery, forcible confinement, assault with a weapon, possessing a weapon for a dangerous purpose and wearing a disguise with the intention to commit a crime, chose a trial by judge alone when his case was called in April. A date was set for a preliminary hearing into his case, but court documents indicate Wade is now set to return on Sept. 20 to enter pleas to the charges instead.

Twitter: @tara_bradbury


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