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Mom cannot explain her son's involvement in a bank robbery in Hempfield

Latreace Anna Jackson never imagined that her son’s life would take him to a Westmoreland County courtroom.

Latreace Anna Jackson never imagined that her son’s life would take him to a Westmoreland County courtroom.

“The gravity of my son’s crime is huge. At first, I couldn't believe it was him. I wondered, why? It was not like him,” Jackson, of Jeannette, stated on Monday while asking for a lighter sentence for her son.

Jonathan Smith Jr., 31, of Greensburg, was sentenced to five years in prison. He admitted guilt in January to charges of robbery, theft, receiving stolen property, and terroristic threats.

According to police, Smith wore a mask when he entered the Key Bank on East Pittsburgh Street on Nov. 24, 2021, and handed a teller an orange index card on which he demanded money and indicated he was armed.

Authorities said he fled with over $3,200 in cash.

Smith was identified by the lettering on his mask and through DNA evidence collected from the index card, according to court records.

Jackson stated that nothing in her son's past made her think he was capable of robbing a bank.

“All these negative influences, they won. I didn’t know my son was so impressionable,” she told the judge.

Jackson described her son as a good student who made it to the dean’s list at Westmoreland County Community College and later secured a good job, but lost it after becoming addicted to cocaine.

“He made a mistake, and I hope he can recover from it. I am ashamed. I can’t speak for him, but to the bank, I’m sorry. To the teller, I’m sorry you went through that. I hope he never does anything like this again,” Jackson said. “I expected great things from him. He made a wrong turn, and here we are.”

Smith informed the judge that his addiction and mental health issues, which he kept hidden from his family, led to the bank robbery.

“I kept that secret for a long time. Outside of this addiction, I would never have done anything like this. It was a moment that happened fast. My mind broke, and it happened. My life exploded, and this is a ripple effect,” Smith stated.

Judge Tim Krieger ordered Smith to serve at least 30 months in prison. Smith received credit for nearly a year he spent in jail after his arrest. He had been free on unsecured bail since last May.

“You were a promising young man and you still are. I am not going to throw you away. You can make something of this, and it’s up to you,” Krieger said. “I want to grant mercy, but I also have an obligation to justice.”

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