How Tyrone Richardson Got 1,888 Years for Scream Robbery

Update: Tyrone Richardson has been sentenced to a jaw-dropping 1,888 years in prison for Lakewood's 2015 Scream bank robbery.

Richardson is the third and final suspect in the heist and subsequent crime spree to receive punishment. Myloh Mason, who was captured after becoming the twelfth Coloradan to be placed on the FBI's ten most-wanted list, received 1,200 years in prison, while conspirator Miguel Sanders earned a mere 371 years behind bars.

Still, Richardson's 1,888 years in stir isn't a Colorado record — and in comparison with the longest prison sentences in history, it's positively modest, as explained below in coverage that we started sharing shortly after the original robbery; that material and other reporting has been incorporated into this post.

On November 18, 2015, the First Judicial District DA's office says Richardson, Sanders and Mason stormed into a bank near the intersection of West Kipling and Jewell in Lakewood. They wore masks associated with the movie Scream (which explains the nickname ascribed to the crimes) plus gloves and multiple layers of clothing. They also packed four guns, supplemented by extra-high-capacity magazines and 125 rounds of ammo.

Inside the bank were eleven employees and three customers, two of whom escaped as the robbery got under way. The rest were held at gunpoint while the men ordered the bank's vault and the teller's drawers to be opened. Within minutes, they'd left the victims in the vault and split with more than $50,000 in cash.

The authorities weren't far behind them, thanks to 911 calls from the customers who got away. Meanwhile, the men allegedly swapped a stolen car that had transported them to the bank in favor of a rental car put in place for their getaway.

Before long, though, they crashed the rental vehicle, forcing them to proceed on foot into a nearby neighborhood. On West Eldorado Place, they kicked in the door of a 65-year-old man, ordered him to hand over the keys to his mini-van and his phone, and informed him that he would be accompanying them as a hostage.

Things didn't work out that way. Inside his garage, the man freed himself and ran down his driveway, where he was shot in the leg. He fell to the ground, then got back up and continued to flee as the men fired at him, striking him three more times. The wounds were described as life-threatening, but somehow he managed to get to the porch of his neighbor's house before collapsing. He survived.

At that point, the trio took off in the mini-van but crashed it, too, not far from Sheridan High School and the Sheridan Recreation Center, the DA's office maintains. At the center, they tried to carjack the vehicle of a thirty-year-old woman, assaulting and shooting her in the process and punching her 53-year-old mother so hard that she suffered broken facial bones. Yet once they took control of the vehicle, they couldn't start it — and so they were left to make a literal run for it again.

Sanders soon separated from Mason and Richardson, sprinting toward the high school's bus depot, where he confronted a bus driver. Holding one gun to the woman's head and a second in his other hand, he told her to climb behind the wheel of her bus and motor away. But she refused to cooperate, and before Sanders could take additional action, the cops arrived. They found him hiding under the bus.

Six days later, at around 2 p.m. on November 24, Richardson was taken into custody on the 1000 block of Sable. As for Mason, he remained at large for nearly two more months. After landing on the FBI's ten most-wanted list, he was nabbed at approximately 5:30 p.m. on Friday, January 15, 2016, at a Motel 6 near I-25 and 84th Avenue in Thornton.

Prosecutors charged each member of the trio with more than thirty counts in relation to their assorted offenses. So why did Mason and Richardson get so much more time than Sanders? They were determined to be habitual criminals, and as First Judicial District DA's office spokesperson Pam Russell noted in regard to Mason this past March, the designation acts as a sentencing enhancer. For every convicted charge, they were sentenced to three times the maximum presumptive range — and because most of the counts were crimes of violence, the sentences run consecutively, not concurrently.

The longest Colorado prison sentence appears to be the one meted out to James Holmes for the 2012 Aurora theater shooting: twelve life terms (one for each person he killed), plus 3,318 years without the possibility of parole.

And the longest U.S. sentence? Multiple sources point to Oklahoma child rapist Charles Scott Robinson, who, in 1994, was given 30,000 years in prison — 5,000 years per each of the six counts for which he was convicted. And the Guinness World Record for the lengthiest prison sentence anywhere in the world is held by Chamoy Thipyaso of Thailand, who was found guilty of defrauding more than 16,000 people in a pyramid scheme valued at more than $200 million. Her sentence was 141,078 — but because the law in Thailand at the time of her conviction limited prison terms for fraud at twenty years, she was released after serving just eight.

Don't expect something similar to happen in the cases of Richardson, Mason and Sanders.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts