Bail was held at $1 million for two of the men charged in the Rockville robbery that led to a police shutdown of Interstate 270 on Tuesday.
Earl M. Kenney, 55, of Capitol Heights, and Michael A. Heard, 40, of Washington, D.C., appeared via video before Montgomery County District Court Judge James B. Sarsfield on Wednesday.
The judge adjusted bail for codefendant Ricko D. Ford, 20, of Capital Heights from $300,000 to “no bail” pending the results of a mental competency screening, over concern that he may have a disability.
Ford’s father pleaded with the judge for leniency Wednesday, stating that his son was mentally disabled.
“He don’t know what he got himself into,” Ford’s father said in court Wednesday.
Several of Ford’s family members attended the hearing as a show of support. Ford’s sister Lanika Jackson, 24, of Clinton said that her brother, a high school dropout, was trying to make it on his own.
“The crowd he got with, they were brainwashing him, making him do stuff,” Jackson said. “He didn’t know what he was doing.”
Jackson said the family learned about his arrest during Tuesday’s evening news.
Matalia Lindsey, 25, of District Heights, is pregnant with Ford’s child. The baby is due next month.
“I’m not doing well,” Lindsey said. “I can’t eat. I can’t sleep.”
According to arrest records, Ford told police that Heard was the one who planned the robbery.
Kenney told Ford on Monday that he and Heard planned to rob the Wells Fargo Bank branch at 404 King Farm Blvd. in Rockville on Tuesday, according a police account of the interview in arrest records.
Ford said he didn’t want to be in the bank while they robbed it, but would act as the lookout, according to arrest records.
Armed and wearing masks, Heard and Kenney went into the bank at around 10 a.m. Tuesday. One of them ordered bank tellers to fill a bag with money while the other ordered customers and other employees to lie down on the floor, according to arrest records.
Ford was in the back seat of Kenney’s Kia Sorento, which was left running.
They made off with $12,898 in cash, according to police.
Rockville City Police responded to the scene. Montgomery County police is handling the investigation.
Police tracked the SUV to Interstate 270, and a Prince George’s police helicopter team spotted the vehicle — spurring Maryland State Police to close down the highway from just south of Montrose Road to just north of the I-270-Interstate 495 split.
Police officers from various jurisdictions — including Rockville, Montgomery, state police and the sheriff’s office — walked the stretch of highway vehicle-by-vehicle.
Less than an hour after the robbery, police found the SUV between two dump trucks. A gun, black gloves and a bag of cash covered by a fleece jacket were recovered at the scene. Police said they also recovered money ditched into one of the trucks during the getaway.
On Wednesday, a more in-depth search unearthed another gun, more cash and clothes used in the robbery, Montgomery County Police Capt. Paul Starks said.
Starks said Kenney was the one driving the SUV.
According to arrest records, Kenney was wearing a Prince George’s County employee shirt and hat with a traffic vest, and $7,050 stuffed in his sock.
Prince George’s County spokesman Scott L. Peterson said Kenney worked for the county’s Department of Public Works in 2011, but was no longer employed by the county.
Kenney and Heard were each charged with one count of armed robbery and one count of using a firearm in the commission of a violent felony.
Ford was charged with one count of armed robbery and one count of conspiracy to commit armed robbery.
All three could face 40 years behind bars, according to Ramon Korionoff, a spokesman for the state’s attorney’s office.
Attorneys weren’t listed for the men in court records but a representative from the Public Defender’s office requested preliminary hearings for Heard and Kenney, who are due in court April 11.
Ford’s bail hearing was postponed until next week, pending the results of the competency screening.