BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – 52-year-old Kenneth Lee Lilly of Fort Madison was taken into custody Friday morning after a North Lee County jury returned a guilty verdict that Lilly aided the 2016 robbery of a Fort Madison bank.
With Lilly’s girlfriend in attendance three rows behind the bar, Judge Mary Ann Brown polled the jury of six women and six men individually as Lilly sat emotionless in his chair in a red polo and khaki pants watching the polling. After all had confirmed the unanimous verdict, Brown excused them and asked sheriff deputies to take Lilly into custody.
Brown tentatively set sentencing for Nov. 22. Lilly faces up to 25 years in prison for aiding and abetting first-degree robbery, a Class B felony.
Lilly’s attorney, Jonathan Stensvaag, a public defender out of Burlington said Lilly maintains his innocence.
“This is one of those cases where Kenneth always said he was innocent. Juries are unpredictable and you don’t know how they are going to decide, but he maintains his innocence and we’ll appeal,” Stensvaag said after the ruling.
He said Lilly will have to wait until after sentencing to file for the appeal.
“After he gets sentenced he has the right to appeal and we plan to do that. We’ll go through that process and he’ll get appellate counsel and they can appeal it and either bring it back down or look for a remedy that way.”
Assistant Iowa Attorney General Andy Prosser didn’t want to comment on the specifics of the case after the verdict.
“The evidence was sufficient to satisfy the jury. I wouldn’t say it was one piece,” Prosser said after the trial. “But I don’t want to comment about the specifics of the evidence.”
The state focused its case on Lilly dropping Lafayette Antonio “Tony “Evans off at the parking lot entrance to the Fort Madison Bank & Trust’s west end location near 48th Street and Avenue L. Evans then went into the bank, fired his weapon to get the attention of everyone in the bank, and then spent approximately six minutes gathering cash before running out.
According to evidence presented at the trial, Evans tried to go out one door, but saw law enforcement and ran out a a different door into an adjacent field behind the Dollar General Store. Evans fired at a Lee County Sheriff’s deputy, striking the vehicle several times before being shot and killed by Fort Madison Police who had also responded to the scene. Evans was also connected to several other burglaries in Illinois and Alabama.
Lilly was accused of dropping Evans off in a maroon GMC Suburban. Evidence showed he then left the immediate area, traveling down Avenue L and stopping at McDonald’s for a pop. Lilly then gathered his kids and headed to Rockford where he stayed until July 6.
Lilly maintains that he was running errands in Fort Madison for most of the morning with his children in the Suburban, filled up with gas at Casey’s and then headed to Illinois. He maintained throughout the trial that he didn’t drop off Evans at the bank, had little knowledge of his past trouble, and was trying to help Evans while he stayed at his home.