Board of Parole commissioners unanimously voted Wednesday to grant former Army staff sergeant David Eugene Gilbert, 60, who was convicted in the 1981 armored car robbery that killed one man and injured six other civilians, his first parole in 24 years.
The former Wyoming resident will be released by December 14.
Gilbert’s release is tied to the pardon request of family members of the robbers — including a man who has given money to Gilbert for over 35 years, Oklahoma county attorney Josh Stephens said. Gilbert’s brother, Larry Gilbert, said they had not received any payment from Gilbert — only gifts.
Gilbert was one of five men convicted in the robbery of the Western Corporate Bank in Hot Springs, Ark., during the course of which one guard was shot in the head. Gilbert was sentenced to 168 years in prison. He remained incarcerated for more than two decades before his case was up for parole.
In 1983, the family of one of the two men who was shot in the exchange of gunfire in the failed heist gave Gilbert $100,000 through a mail scam. He then went on a spending spree that prosecutors said was aided by drug dealers he worked with.
Since then, Gilbert’s life has included time in several halfway houses, two prison terms, and at least a dozen attempts at parole, as well as a 15-year legal battle with the Bureau of Prisons, which ultimately left him with essentially the same sentence as his accomplices, given his clean criminal record and extended family in Oklahoma.