CLYMER - A Mayville woman accused of robbing a Clymer credit union last April will avoid trial.
Jenifer Gens on Friday pleaded guilty to a felony robbery charge, days before her trial was scheduled to begin. According to Chautauqua County District Attorney David Foley, Gens faces up to seven years in prison when sentenced May 20 in front of County Court Judge John T. Ward.
Foley, though, expects Gens to be sentenced to the minimum term of 1 1/2 to three years for robbing the Southern Chautauqua Federal Credit Union in Clymer.
"We got exactly what we were looking for," Foley said Sunday. "I had spoken to the assistant district attorney assigned to this case, and we made it clear (Gens) needed to plead guilty to the robbery."
Jury selection in the trial was scheduled to begin Tuesday in Mayville. Gens' plea also covered other pending cases against her.
Ned Barone, Chautauqua County public defender, said Gens had been facing nonviolent felony charges for three separate incidents, including the Clymer robbery. Barone said Gens was charged last year with grand larceny and criminal possession of stolen property. The incidents took place in the Jamestown area and occurred around the same time as the robbery.
By entering a guilty plea Friday, the remaining felony charges were reduced to misdemeanors, Barone said. Had she been convicted on all three charges, Gens could have faced a maximum sentence of approximately 16 years in prison.
"We were all set to go to trial for the robbery," Barone said. "One of the other felonies was a weak, weak case, and the evidence wasn't that great."
Asked of Gens' reasoning for the rash of felonies, Barone said, "Sometimes when it rains it pours and it happens all at once. ... Sometimes people make bad choices and are put into situations."
A Chautauqua County grand jury in April indicted Gens on one count of third-degree robbery, a class D felony, for her part in the Clymer heist. New York State Police and the district attorney's office handled the investigation.
State Police on April 17 were called to the 562 Clymer-Sherman Road credit union for a report of a robbery. The suspect was described as a woman with a small build and wearing a hooded sweatshirt, jeans and sunglasses.
Staff at the credit union said the subject demanded money and indicated she had a gun. More than $3,700 was taken, Barone said, noting no gun was ever shown or located.
Shortly after the robbery, police canvassed the neighborhood and reviewed surveillance footage. Several tips from area residents led authorities to Gens.
"We did a lot of work talking to people in the neighborhood," Joseph Smith of the New York State Police said last year. "Thanks to witnesses we had a good lead about where the suspect was."
Barone, meanwhile, said he was pleased to see all three felonies were resolved with the plea deal.
"She does have children," he said. "She is a mother and has other responsibilities. We're glad that we were able to get this resolved and allow her to move forward."