Virginia escapee who sparked manhunt sentenced to 32 years in prison

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 09, 2015 4:15 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A bank robbery suspect who sparked a massive manhunt when he fled a Virginia hospital with a guard's gun was sentenced to 32 years in prison on Friday, prosecutors said.

Wossen Assaye, 43, of Arlington, Virginia, was also sentenced in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, to five years of supervised release once he is freed from prison, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia said in a statement.

Assaye triggered a nine-hour manhunt on March 31 when he apparently freed himself from shackles at a hospital in Washington's Virginia suburbs.

He assaulted a guard, grabbed her gun, pointed it at a second guard and pulled the first guard down a hallway at gunpoint. He fled wearing a hospital gown and carjacked two vehicles before he was arrested in Washington.

Assaye pleaded guilty in July to firearms charges. He also accepted responsibility for other crimes for which he was charged or suspected, including a string of bank robberies.

Assaye had been taken to the Virginia hospital after a suicide attempt.

(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Sandra Maler)