COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – One of two surviving suspects accused of stealing a Porsche, robbing a bank and exchanging gunfire with Columbus police on an interstate pleaded guilty Tuesday.
Aden Abdullahi Jama, who was on trial for his role in a July 6 crime spree, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court today to counts six through 10 of the federal indictment, including being an accessory after the fact to bank robbery, two counts of aiding and abetting robberies and two counts of aiding and abetting the use of a firearm during the robberies.
Court records showed that Jama made a plea agreement with prosecutors to change his plea from not guilty. Details of the plea deal were not made publicly available.
“We are just happy to see that justice was served,” said Columbus Division of Police Deputy Chief Robert Sagle. “Obviously it’s going to be easier on the family and all of the officers who are supporting our officer just to know that part of the case was resolved.”
The sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court at a later hearing based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. Aiding and abetting a bank robbery is punishable by up to 20 years in prison, while the firearm charge is punishable by at least five years to life in prison.
Aden Abdullahi Jama, 20, of Reynoldsburg, was arrested July 8 at Chicago O’Hare International Airport by the United States Marshals Service. Jama, who had purchased a ticket leaving that day for Turkey, was part of a three-person crew who stole a black Porsche SUV and drove it to rob a Fifth Third Bank on the 2400 block of Hilliard Rome Road, police said.
Police began a pursuit at around 2 p.m. after several law enforcement agencies responded to reports of an armed robbery at a Porsche dealership on the 400 block of North Hamilton Road in Whitehall, said Columbus Police Sgt. Joe Albert.
Both Jama and Faisal Darod, 23, of Columbus, were charged at the federal level with aiding and abetting a bank robbery and aiding and abetting the use of a firearm during a crime of violence.
Investigators said technology helped find the two suspects, and that includes Whitehall police, who gained access to the security system at the car lot where the group allegedly stole a Porsche.
As well, body camera footage and 911 calls were released by the Whitehall Division of Police to help piece together the series of crimes that preceded a shootout between the officers and armed suspects.
“The United States of America versus Jama. That sends a message,” said Brian Steel, the Executive Vice President of the Fraternal Order of Police Capital City Lodge 9. “Justice is a process; justice is not an outcome, and this is one more step in that process.”
The law enforcement officers in the courtroom say they plan to have a presence at every hearing and to always show support for the injured officer.
“Like the chief always says our officers when they do the right thing, we are behind them 100% and in this case our officer was just there doing his job and got critically injured so we are just happy to see the support from all the fellow officers,” Sagle said.
The judge said by entering this guilty plea Jama is not allowed to attempt to withdraw that plea at any time.