The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Crime & Courts

December 4, 2013

Suspect denies any attempt to rob bank

MIAMI, Okla. — A suspect in a bank robbery attempt in Miami that led to a fatal crash claimed in federal court this week that he was merely inquiring about opening an account at the bank and left when a teller used a racial slur.

U.S. Magistrate Judge T. Lane Wilson found cause at a detention hearing Monday in U.S. District Court in Tulsa to order that Francis H. Dishmon, 50, remain in federal custody pending a parole revocation hearing with respect to an Aug. 28 attempt to rob the IBC Bank in Miami.

Truck driver James C. Wivell, of Longmont, Colo., was killed in a crash on U.S. Highway 69A north of Quapaw during the defendant’s alleged high-speed getaway.

Dishmon, who has four previous convictions for bank robberies in other states and was just released from federal prison in January of last year, was charged initially in Ottawa County District Court with second-degree murder under the state’s felony murder rule.

The U.S. attorney’s office in Tulsa, which assumed prosecution of the case in October, withdrew a complaint in November charging the defendant with attempted bank robbery. Court records indicate that the Justice Department is reviewing the case for possible application of the death penalty before federal charges being refiled or a grand jury indictment being sought.

At the detention hearing Monday, the defendant’s probation officer testified that Dishmon had asked to be paroled to Oklahoma where he could live with his sister. He said the defendant had been working full time for a satellite television company and that he had no violations of his supervised release before the alleged bank robbery attempt.

Dishmon’s older brother testified that the defendant could stay with him if he was released by the court and that he would have a land line installed in his home if necessary to allow electronic monitoring. The defendant promised the judge that he would not be a flight risk and would not pose a danger to the community.

Dishmon said he wants to become a chef and that he had enrolled in college to pursue that career but had been unable to attend classes because of his work schedule. He instead decided to pursue a catering business and was actually in Miami the day in question looking to obtain some equipment to that end, he said.

He claimed that he went into the bank to ask about opening an account and made no attempt to rob it. He described what happened there as an altercation with a teller who used a racial slur.

A court document summing up his testimony states: “At no point after he left the bank did he know or believe a robbery had been reported. He does not deny being in the bank, but he did not pass a note to the teller.”

An affidavit written by an FBI agent states that Dishmon approached a teller, held up a note and told her to read it. When she told him she could not tell what it said, he demanded that she give him “all 50s and 100s” and warned her that she was endangering herself and her co-workers by not moving quickly, the affidavit says.

She showed him that her drive-through window cash drawer was empty and said she would have to go to the back of the bank to get any money. As she started to do that, he fled, according to the affidavit.

Dishmon denied that he left driving at a high rate of speed or that he was driving any faster than 70 mph when he tried to pass Wivell’s truck, resulting in the crash.

No disguise

FRANCIS DISHMON told a judge that some proof of his innocence, regarding an alleged bank robbery attempt Aug. 28, lies in the fact that he entered the bank not wearing any sort of disguise. In all his previous bank robberies, he had worn disguises, he told the judge.

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