Alleged accomplice in FNB robbery indicted

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By Sharon Graves

A man arrested last week for allegedly robbing Carrollton’s First National Bank was indicted Monday by the Carroll County grand jury, along with a woman police believe to be an accomplice in the Jan. 23 crime.


Cecil J. Messer, 45, was indicted for second-degree robbery, a Class B felony. He is being held in the Carroll County Detention Center on a $100,000 bond.

Michelle Lynn McKinney, 31, of Wrights Ridge Road, Carrollton, was indicted on one count of first-degree complicity to robbery, also a Class B felony.

The indictment alleges that McKinney helped Messer while he committed the alleged bank robbery, but the court document did not state precisely what her role was.

McKinney was in District Court at the William Wheeler Hall of Justice when the grand jury returned the indictment. She was taken into custody and placed under a $50,000 full-cash bond. Family and friends of McKinney gasped when the bond amount was announced in court, and one man stormed out of the building.

If convicted, both Messer and McKinney face 10-20 years in prison and fines of up to $10,000.

Kentucky State Police Detective Jason Brown, noted in the indictments as a witness for the Commonwealth, has been investigating the robbery in conjunction with the Carrollton Police Department and Officer Jamie Kinman during the investigation of the robbery.

So far, authorities have not released how much was stolen from the bank by Messer, who allegedly approached a teller and demanded cash. His photo was caught on security cameras; the photos then were published in local newspapers.

Publishing the photos resulted in numerous tips about the crime to local police.

“Credible and substantial leads led to evidence that showed she [McKinney] may be involved,” Carrollton Police Chief Mike Willhoite said Monday. “We obtained indictments today, but we are still actively investigating the case and welcome leads and information continuing through the trial, if it goes that far.”

Extradition and


Messer was arraiged on the charge of first-degree robbery Thursday, Feb. 5, after extradition from Tennessee.

Messer also was indicted on charges of persistent felony offender, a Class B felony with a possible sentence of 10-20 years in prison. The indictment document does not disclose details of previous felonies, but indicates he has been convicted on at least three other felonies.

Crediting tips from the public on the case, Messer was tracked down to a hotel room in Nashville, Tenn., and arrested by U.S. Marshals and Tennesee state police Jan. 30, seven days after the alleged hiest at Carrollton’s First National Bank.

On Thursday, District Court Judge Elizabeth Chandler-Lester appointed public defender Bridgette Saunders to represent Messer when he was officially charged with first-degree robbery, a Class B felony.

A preliminary hearing in the case is scheduled for Feb. 19.

Messer entered the courtroom Thursday dressed in a white T-shirt and blue jeans, and intently watched, without expression, the proceedings.

Messer allegedly robbed the First National Bank, January 23 at approximately 1:50 p.m. when he walked into the bank and demanded cash from a teller. He escaped on foot and was arrested a week later in a motel in Nashville, Tenn.

Messer signed a waiver of extradition Wednesday, Feb. 4, in Nashville,

Carrollton Police Officer Kinman, accompanied by KSP Detecitve Brown, left for Davidson County, Tenn., Metro Corrections just after noon last Wednesday and returned to Carrollton shortly before 9 p.m. the same night.

Kinman said Messer remained quiet during the trip to Kentucky.

“He was quiet and we had casual conversation on the trip back,” Kinman said. “Messer talked about family and lifestyle, but not about the case, since he had already asked for a lawyer. He was handcuffed for the trip to Carrollton.”