Bank robber enters plea, faces five years

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By Staff

An Arkansas woman accused of robbing the Wilson & Muir bank branch on Culpepper Street in May faces five years in prison after entering a guilty plea this week. The case was previously scheduled to go to trial Aug. 26.

According to the plea, a second-degree robbery charge against Crystal Gibbons was amended to theft by unlawful taking over $500. The amended charge carries a recommended penalty of five years, whereas the robbery charge carried a penalty of up to 10 years.

Gibbons also faces five years for first-degree fleeing police and first-degree criminal mischief, and three years for first-degree possession of meth. Several other charges, including first-degree wanton endangerment of a police officer, possession of drug paraphernalia, reckless driving, third-degree criminal trespassing and driving on a suspended license, were dismissed as part of the plea.

The prosecution is recommending Gibbons serve a total of five years on the remaining charges, with that time to run consecutive to a 10-year sentence pending in Arkansas on separate charges. Gibbons’ formal sentencing is set for Sept.19.

Gibbons is accused of robbing the bank on May 3 and was apprehended by police not long after fleeing the scene when her vehicle became stuck in a muddy field off Spencer Mattingly Lane.

The robbery was one of a few investigated by Bardstown Police within the last year.

Kevin Mahana, who also entered a guilty plea, was sentenced to five years in May for robbing the WesBanco branch on North Third Street in November. Next month, Ledrick Edwards is set to go to trial for robbing the same bank a month later. Edwards’ trial date was rescheduled from July. 

Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Chip McKay, who prosecuted Gibbons’ case, said it is not unusual for bank robbery cases to be settled by pleas. In fact, in the 15 years he has served with the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office, he has never seen a case actually make it to trial.

“Cases of this nature usually settle because of good police investigations,” he said, and solid evidence against the offender.

In terms of Gibbons’ case, McKay said the decision to amend the robbery charge to theft by unlawful taking stemmed from the circumstances of how the act was committed.

“The defendant in this case did not conceal her face in any way inside the bank, had no weapon and made no threats to employees,” McKay said.

Gibbons did present a note to the teller demanding money, he said, and the teller did as they were trained to do in such a situation.

McKay also said in this particular case, there were some issues in proving criminal intent because Gibbons appeared to be in a “questionable mental state” when she was taken into custody.

“She was paranoid and making bizarre claims,” he said. “All of these factors contributed to the decision to amend the charge to one that more closely fit the facts of this particular case.”

When it came to dismissing some of the other charges, such as driving without a license and trespassing, McKay said it is common practice to dismiss more minor charges in exchange to pleas on more serious charges, such as first-degree fleeing.

“Most of the charges that were dismissed were related to conduct that was covered in the more serious charges to which the defendant pled guilty,” he said.

McKay said prosecutors anticipate that once Gibbons completes her sentence in Kentucky, she will be extradited to Arkansas to serve the 10-year sentence for crimes committed in that state.