A man who wore a T-shirt that said "tequila" on the front and robbed a Savannah Highway bank appeared in U.S. District Court on Tuesday in shackles wearing gray jail stripes.
District Judge P. Michael Duffy sentenced Myron William Ernst of Ocala, Fla., to 11.4 years in prison for the local robbery and five others in Alabama and Florida.
Ernst, 52, told Duffy the bank robberies were an act of desperation because he had no money and could not find a halfway house where he could live after being released from prison in Florida.
"I'm not justifying what I did. I just didn't feel like I had a lot of options," Ernst said.
Ernst passed a note to bank tellers demanding money. He did not use a firearm.
Ernst robbed the Regions Bank at 1545 Savannah Highway on Aug. 27, 2008. Earlier, he robbed banks in Huntsville, Montgomery and Mobile, Ala., and Panama City and Orange Park, Fla., officials said.
The day after the Charleston bank robbery, Ernst was arrested in Myrtle Beach for possession of a stolen motor vehicle. FBI agents interviewed Ernst after fingerprints on the demand note left at the Regions Bank came back to him. Ernst confessed to robbing the six banks.
Ernst also was sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $11,000 in restitution.