Semi-pro football team owner/coach kills security guard, robs bank to cover team bills, FBI says

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Two men shot and killed a bank security guard in Indiana to rob nearly $10,000 in order to pay off the bills of an amateur football team one of the men owned and coached, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. 

The FBI released a 17-page affidavit and acting U.S. Attorney Tina Nommay said her office will ask the U.S. Department of Justice for permission to seek the death penalty. 

Owner/coach, player tried to rob money for team

Hailey Gist-Holden, 26, and owner/coach of the Illini Panthers, and James Anthony King Jr., 24, allegedly ambushed First Midwest Bank guard Richard Castellana, 55, as he was walking on the sidewalk. They allegedly shot him in the face in the June 11 incident in Gary, Indiana. 

Both men face charges of armed bank robbery, using a firearm during the robbery, and causing death, per the Sun-Times. Castellana was a retired Cook County sheriff's deputy. 

The two walked into the bank where one demanded money from the teller and another stood on lookout, the affidavit states. They left with $9,771.09, officials said. 

Owner/coach reportedly offered to 'work off' charges

King reportedly told authorities he was a player on the football team and that his coach, Gist-Holden, was the one who shot the guard. 

King, who is from Miami, Florida, was found in a nearby wooded area hours after the attack, per the affidavit. Police said they found a backpack with cash and a .40-caliber handgun near his location, the Sun-Times reported. 

Gist-Holden wasn't arrested until June 18 at the conclusion of a high-speed chase in Georgia, per the complaint. He was arrested after crashing the car. After his arrest he reportedly offered to "work off" the charges by becoming an FBI informant, per the affidavit. 

Gist-Holden was in financial trouble and couldn't pay the rent on his home in Gary or the hotel bill for his team's players to stay in Downers Grove, per the report. 

Illini Panthers leave amateur league

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A semi-pro team owner tried to cover bills by robbing a bank, the FBI says. (Visionhaus/Getty Images)

The Illini Panthers play in the MidStates Football League (MSFL), an adult amateur football league in the Midwest that's based in Chicago. It currently has 10 teams with the Panthers in their second season. 

On June 13, two days after the bank robbery, the Illini Panthers Facebook page made an all-caps announcement that the team would no longer compete in the MSFL. It cited a "disturbing statement' by the league office that passes "blame for their insufficient and lack of effort in taking care of last week's game mishap where referees were not assigned to our game." 

The club wrote it felt that families, supporters and the team players were "left out to dry for what we believe was an intentional mistake." 

The post goes on to allege the league doesn't support its teams, coaches, players and game day staffers. It specifically mentions that players should at the "bare minimum" have insurance and that teams have folded because of financial reasons. 

The Illini Panthers said they were looking at other options for the organization. 

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