The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

August 29, 2013

Suspect in aborted bank robbery charged with murder

MIAMI, Okla. — The Ottawa County district attorney’s office filed a charge of second-degree murder Thursday against the suspect in an attempted bank robbery in Miami that led to the death of a truck driver.

Francis Harry Dishmon, 50, of Tulsa, was charged under Oklahoma’s felony murder law since James C. Wivell, 48, of Longmont, Colo., lost his life as a result of the suspect’s alleged attempt to rob the IBC Bank at 2520 N. Main St. in Miami on Wednesday and his ensuing flight from law enforcement.

District Attorney Eddie Wyant said the underlying felony charge in the case would be first-degree attempted robbery.

Wyant had indicated Wednesday that he anticipated filing a charge of first-degree murder against Dishmon. The district attorney said Thursday that he did not realize at the time that the only robbery offense that can support a first-degree murder charge under the state’s felony murder rule is robbery with a dangerous weapon.

“And we never found a weapon,” Wyant said. “He didn’t show a weapon.”

A probable-cause affidavit filed with the charge states that Dishmon entered the bank and handed a teller a note demanding money. He fled without any loot, though, when the teller showed him an empty cash drawer, the affidavit states.

The blue Mazda the suspect was observed speeding away in passed through Quapaw traveling at more than 100 mph, according to the affidavit.

A Quapaw police officer who spotted the vehicle and gave chase came upon a crash scene moments later on U.S. Highway 69A, where the Mazda had come to rest against a barbed wire fence. The car’s door was open and the driver had fled. A truck rig was lying on its side about 200 yards away on the opposite side of the highway, with Wivell pinned inside the cab. He was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol’s accident report.

Dishmon, who was arrested after a brief manhunt, has prior federal convictions for bank robberies in Florida and Alabama. He was sentenced to 70 months in prison in 2001 on the conviction in Florida and to 96 months in 2003 for the conviction in Alabama, according to federal court records. The website for the Bureau of Prisons indicates that he was released from prison as recently as January.

According to both the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation and state patrol, Dishmon appears to have been residing in Tulsa. The Ottawa County sheriff’s office had said Wednesday that there were unconfirmed reasons to believe he may be from Anderson, Mo. But the state patrol said he possessed identification that bore an address in Tulsa and that his vehicle was registered there.

The state patrol’s report of the accident that claimed Wivell’s life states that Dishmon was attempting to pass the northbound trucker’s rig when he swerved to avoid an oncoming southbound vehicle and his Mazda glanced off the driver’s side front of Wivell’s rig and went into a spin. The car spun several times and struck an abandoned vehicle parked on the shoulder of the road before coming to rest in the ditch on the east side of the road.

Wivell swerved to avoid striking the spinning car and his truck overturned and slid completely across the highway and into a guardrail. His body was taken to the state medical examiner’s office in Tulsa.

No gun

A note that Francis Dishmon is accused of handing a bank teller claimed that he was armed. But, the robbery suspect never displayed a gun inside the bank, and no weapon was found in his possession when he was captured, apparently sparing him a first-degree murder charge.

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