Last December, The U.S. Supreme Court rejected Granby's most famous bank robber, William J. R. Embrey, in his attempt for freedom, but that intrepid Embrey has not given up. Unfortunately for him, his luck remains bad.
The U. S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth District Friday rejected Embrey's petition for a writ of mandamus. He did win one small victory; the court allowed him to have the costs of his petition footed by the taxpayers.
According to his U. S. Supreme Court appeal, Embrey claims he should not have been sentenced to consecutive 20-year terms for bank robbery and kidnapping in connection with the March 11, 1979, robbery of a bank in Southwest City.
During that robbery, according to court records, Embrey and his half-brother, Luie White of Diamond, approached bank official Darrell Spillers and his family at their Southwest City home and demanded money. Spillers took more than $11,000 from the bank, while Embrey and White held his family hostage. Embrey and White left for Oklahoma in Spillers' car, taking him with them as "insurance," in case Spillers had called the police while he was at the bank.
When they reached their getaway car, they released Spillers unharmed. Embrey was later convicted in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri on charges of armed bank robbery, in violation of the Federal Bank Robbery Act and kidnapping in violation of the Federal Kidnapping Act. On Sept. 19, 1980, Embrey received the consecutive 20-year sentences. Embrey received a break in 1997 when an appellate court panel ruled that he should not have received consecutive sentences and he was released since he had already served the time for one crime. The full court overruled that decision, however. Embrey was free on appeal, but he was unable to leave well enough alone.
On Dec. 5, 1998. Embrey, 64, and White, were each charged with possession of firearms by a convicted felon following a traffic stop, according to court records.
White, who was driving, initially denied knowing who Embrey was, according to a news release from the U. S. Attorney's office, but then identified him as Herbert Jensen. After further questioning, the passenger identified himself as William Embrey. The trooper asked for permission to search the car.
At that point, according to the federal indictment, Embrey began to show heart attack symptoms and asked for antiglycerine pills which he said were in the trunk of his car. Embrey has a history of heart problems.
As he got out of the car, the trooper noticed two 9 mm ammunition clips on the seat where Embrey was sitting, according to the indictment. After putting Embrey in an ambulance, authorities said, a loaded handgun was found on the ground where he had been sitting. Three shotguns, three revolvers, more ammunition, Halloween masks, wigs, makeup, gloves, a police scanner and two-way radios were also found in the car's trunk.
According to an Associated Press report, one official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said state and federal authorities believed Embrey and White were preparing to rob another bank.
Since that time, Embrey has made at least two attempts to sue the Highway Patrol officers who stopped him. claiming they violated his civil rights. Embrey, acting as his own lawyer, claimed troopers Stephen L. Grass and C. N. Ponder, were "trolling the highways for the purpose of targeting out-of-state and rental vehicles then creating and/or finding reasons to stop said vehicles for the sole purpose of searching for drugs."