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Sentences spell out life in jail

Two Bakersfield men convicted of robbing a Citibank in Paso Robles in 2009 each received sentences that could keep them in prison for the rest of their lives.

Tino Ortega Simmons, 35, received a sentence of 74 years to life in prison, and 50-year-old Thomas Cameron Kincade received a 55 years-to-life sentence.

The men apologized to the victims at Monday’s hearing, saying that their actions weren’t justified.

“I apologize for my actions, and I was wrong for any fear I instilled in the victims,” Kincade said.

But both men disagreed with the sentence and indicated that they’d appeal.

“I can’t accept this punishment,” Simmons said.

Each man represented himself during the sentencing.

Kincade chose to represent himself during the trial, and Simmons hired Los Angeles-based attorney Charles Kelly Kilgore.

They were convicted of taking more than $100,000 in the robbery.

Investigators found the exact amount of money taken from the bank, $119,500, in Simmons’ home, as well as bandannas with DNA that matched Kincade and Simmons.

The sentencing by Judge Barry LaBarbera took into account that each man had prior convictions for armed robberies.

Prosecutor Dave Pomeroy said the apologies were “appropriate” and submitted a sentencing recommendation that LaBarbera considered in his ruling.

“The District Attorney’s Office feels that the discretion exercised by the court in the sentencing of the defendants to life terms was appropriate given the severity of the crimes and the defendants’ prior criminal history,” said Chief Deputy District Attorney Jerret Gran.

No victims spoke at the sentencing; several family members of the convicted were in attendance and listened quietly as the judge and prosecutor discussed the complicated sentencing structure.

The men had about two-and-a-half years of credit from time already served. Simmons is eligible for nearly four years of credit toward his sentence for good behavior. Kincade is eligible for about six years of credit for good behavior.

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