Court or­ders Fisher to be re­sen­tenced for rob­bery

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NORTHWEST ARKANSAS - RON WOOD

FAYET­TEVILLE — A fed­eral ap­peals court Mon­day re­versed and re­manded a bank rob­bery case for re­sen­tenc­ing, say­ing en­hance­ments for us­ing a mi­nor to com­mit a crime were in­cor­rectly ap­plied.


Wayne Fisher Jr., 40, robbed a bank in Ben­tonville in Au­gust 2015. A run­away girl was trav­el­ing with Fisher at the time of the rob­bery. Af­ter plead­ing guilty, Fisher was given a two-level en­hance­ment at sen­tenc­ing for in­volv­ing the un­der-aged girl in the rob­bery.

The 8th U.S. Cir­cuit Court of Ap­peals ruled Mon­day the girl didn’t help in the Arkansas rob­bery, al­though she may have helped Fisher plan bank rob­beries in other states. Be­cause the girl was not in­volved in the Arkansas rob­bery, Fisher’s sen­tence was cal­cu­lated in­cor­rectly, jus­tices said.

“The facts cited by the District Court fail to de­mon­strate that Fisher ‘used or at­tempted to use’

M.T. to com­mit the Arkansas Bank rob­bery — the crime of con­vic­tion here,” jus­tices wrote. “First, M.T. pres­ence in the car as Fisher’s ‘side kick,’ ‘nav­i­ga­tor’ or ‘co-pilot’ does not alone de­mon­strate Fisher’s af­fir­ma­tive ac­tion en­cour­ag­ing her to as­sist in the Arkansas rob­bery con­sid­er­ing she merely sat in the car while he robbed the Arkansas bank.”

The jus­tices said Fisher didn’t in­volve the girl in get­ting a get­away car. The car was reg­is­tered un­der a name from a driver’s li­cense Fisher stole. The girl was us­ing that name as an alias.

Fi­nally, jus­tices said the District Court should have fo­cused on whether Fisher di­rected, trained or oth­er­wise en­cour­aged M.T. to par­tic­i­pate in the Arkansas rob­bery. Jus­tices said M.T.’s use of a map ap­pli­ca­tion on her phone did not rise to that level.

The Arkansas rob­bery was part of a crime spree that re­sulted in banks also be­ing robbed in Kansas, Wy­oming and New Mex­ico. Fisher was even­tu­ally caught in Cal­i­for­nia and the girl Fisher had picked up in Colorado was with him.

The girl told po­lice she had helped Fisher plan some of the rob­beries in other states, but not the rob­bery in Arkansas.

Judge Tim Brooks found Fisher had used the girl to pro­cure a get-away car and to plan en­try and exit routes for the rob­bery. In June 2016, Brooks sen­tenced Fisher to 12 years and 6 months in fed­eral prison and levied a $10,000 fine. Fisher also was or­dered to pay resti­tu­tion.

Fisher will be re­turned to U.S. District Court in Fayet­teville and re­sen­tenced at a later date.

Fisher went into the First Se­cu­rity Bank at 2501 E. Cen­tral Ave. on Aug. 28, 2015. He handed a note to the teller and said, “I’d like to cash this,” ac­cord­ing to court doc­u­ments. On the note, Fisher had writ­ten “Give me the money. This is not a joke. I am very se­ri­ous.”

The teller gave Fisher $961, ac­cord­ing to court doc­u­ments. Fisher left on foot with the loot. Po­lice later iden­ti­fied Fisher through DNA and se­cu­rity footage.

The Foun­tain Val­ley, Calif., Po­lice De­part­ment ar­rested Fisher and the girl on Nov. 16, 2015, af­ter a 10-mile pur­suit.


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