Bench trial set for bank robbery suspect

By Joe Beck

A Winchester man accused of robbing a Middletown bank chose to forgo a jury trial Wednesday and accepted a court date for a bench trial in Frederick County Circuit Court.

Retired Judge Benjamin Kendrick scheduled the bench trial for Scott Alexander Wessells, 25, of 106 Ettawah Trail, at 9 a.m. Dec. 12. At a bench trial, a judge hears evidence from the prosecution and defense and renders a verdict.

“Mr. Wessells is going to waive his right to a jury trial and ask for a bench trial,” Wessells’ attorney, C. Todd Gilbert, told Kendrick.

Authorities say Wessells took $10,264 when he walked into the BB&T bank at 7800 Main St., Middletown. Police later reported they had recovered all but $92 of the stolen money from a blue bag they believe Wessells was carrying at the scene of his arrest.

The criminal complaint against Wessells states that he presented a bank teller with a note stating he had a bomb with him and demanding all the money in two drawers.

The complaint states the teller handed the cash to Wessells, who then fled from the building.

Rich Cooley, a photographer with The Northern Virginia Daily, provided a tip to police that led to Wessell’s arrest. Cooley, who was driving to the crime scene, spotted a suspicious vehicle turning onto Signal Knob Drive in Strasburg.

Police arrested Wessells minutes later at the Signal Knob Stations condominiums.

Wessells is also facing possible probation revocation from previous offenses involving heroin and cocaine.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com