CORTLAND — He repaid the money he stole. He sought treatment for mental illness. He returned to college and maintained a job. He also had no prior criminal record. That’s why a Cortland County judge sentenced the man who robbed a Cortlandville bank in 2016 to five years probation.
Zacharie Boutoille, 26, appeared Tuesday before Judge David Alexander with his attorney, Public Defender Keith Dayton. During the appearance Boutoille was sentenced to five years of supervised probation for a guilty plea to third-degree attempted robbery, a felony. “You are ordered to be an open book,” Alexander said, while reading a statement before the court.
Boutoille had pleaded guilty to the charge on Jan. 23. The third-degree attempted robbery charge had a potential maximum sentence of one to four years in prison.
Boutoille was arrested shortly after entering the First National Bank of Dryden on Route 13 near Lime Hollow Road in Cortlandville on Nov. 26, 2016, demanding money and leaving with $5,105.88, in a late-model dark Chevrolet Impala with tinted windows.
Witnesses told police he had a handgun on his hip during the robbery, but did not draw it.
Bank employees, in depositions, described him having such a calm nature when asking tellers to hand over money that they at first thought he was joking.
Boutoille was originally charged with second-degree robbery, third-degree grand larceny and second-degree criminal use of a firearm, all felonies During the court appearance, Boutoille said it was with a heavy heart he was before the court. He apologized to everyone he hurt, including the employees of the bank. “I send my condolences to the employees,” he said.
Boutoille said that at the time of the robbery he was dealing with mental illness, including post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and paranoia.
“I did not go to feed an addiction,” he said, adding it also wasn’t due to excitement or greed, but instead to support his family.
After his arrest, Boutoille said he sought to turn his life around. “After receiving treatment for my conditions I was able to focus on paying restitution,” he said. He repaid $5,105.88 before his January plea.
Boutoille, who had served as a specialist with the 27th Infantry Combat Team, a unit with the New York Army National Guard, was deployed to Afghanistan as a forward observer for the brigade’s artillery for a year, starting in October 2010.
Boutoille told the court he served for 366 days in Afghanistan. “We were told we’d never fire a weapon,” Boutoille said. But he was involved in combat.
Boutoille was a fire support specialist in the Army National Guard. As a fire support specialist his duties consisted of planning for artillery fire.
Since his arrest, Boutoille has entered college courses at Tompkins Cortland Community College for an associate’s degree in business administration, has maintained a job, has had no prior criminal record and is a low risk of recidivism and violence, Alexander said.
Following the sentencing Boutoille said he is thankful for the support he has received. He plans to remain in Cortland with his family and be part of the community.