A woman accused of using a threatening and rambling demand note to hold up a Hillcrest bank must stand trial on a robbery charge, a judge ruled Friday.
Marta Cristina Aspeyita, 33, faces five years in state prison if convicted, said Deputy District Attorney Michael Reilly.
Andrew Rowell testified during a preliminary hearing that he was working as a teller at a Wells Fargo Bank branch in Hillcrest on April 26 at about 5:20 p.m. when Aspeyita — wearing a hat and carrying lots of bags — put down a note demanding “all the money in the drawer.”
Rowell said he immediately started reading the note, which he said contained a lot of gibberish and references about shooting in the air, beheading, ISIS and the police. The witness said he looked up when Aspeyita started talking to him.
“She said, `I need all the money for the homeless shelter now,”‘ Rowell testified.
Growing fearful, the teller gave the defendant about $500 and she walked briskly out of the bank. As soon as Aspeyita went out the door, she sprinted away, Rowell testified.
A responding officer heard dispatchers describe the robber’s appearance and spotted a homeless woman close to the bank who matched that description and Aspeyita was arrested.
Attorneys for the defendant told Judge Lorna Alksne that Aspeyita needed money and simply went to the wrong place to get that kind of help. There was no direct threat to the teller and no weapon was used, the defense argued.
But the judge found that there was enough evidence produced to order Aspeyita to stand trial.
“She (Aspeyita) knew exactly what she was doing,” the judge said.
As the hearing was ending, Aspeyita told the judge, “If he (the bank teller) would have said no, I would have left (the bank). I told him, thanks so much. God bless you.”
Aspeyita will be back in court Nov. 16 for a readiness conference. Her trial was set for Nov. 21.
–City News Service
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