Paragraph seven reads: "Defense attorney James Harper said his client also was off of anti-depressant medication at the time. He said Taylor suffers from a plethora of health problems, both physical and mental. He described a steady psychological spiral since the death of her mother in 1999."
Grandmother with breathing tube, oxygen tank gets probation for RBC heist
Published: Sunday, September 12, 2010, 2:00 PM
MOBILE, Ala. With a breathing tube in her nose, an oxygen tank trailing behind her and barely a speeding ticket in 54 years, Pennie Page Taylor might literally be the last person anyone would expect to rob a bank.
Yet, there she was on Jan. 29 walking into an RBC Bank on Cottage Hill Road and sliding a stickup note to a teller: “Someone is across the street watching. We know where you live. Give me $150,000, do not hit the alarm.”
Chief U.S. District Judge William Steele, who called it an “interesting and difficult case,” decided last week that prison for the long-married mother and grandmother would not serve the interests of justice. Instead, he sentenced her to five years’ probation, with the first six months under home confinement and electronic monitoring.
“It is apparent to me that this act was an act of aberrant behavior,” he said.
According to court records, Taylor got $3,296 during the heist. But police quickly traced the robbery to her home, arrested her and recovered all but $240.
Taylor told investigators that she had a $10,000 credit card debt.
Defense attorney James Harper said his client also was off of anti-depressant medication at the time. He said Taylor suffers from a plethora of health problems, both physical and mental. He described a steady psychological spiral since the death of her mother in 1999.
Taylor has made at least seven suicide attempts and takes 18 different kinds of medication, Harper said.
“This is a one-time thing,” he said. “This was a mental breakdown, I believe, not a moral breakdown.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean Costello argued for a prison term of 2½ years, the bottom of the range set forth by advisory sentencing guidelines. He noted that Taylor wore black makeup, a hooded sweatshirt, and gloves. He said she later burned the holdup note.
“She didn’t just walk into a bank,” Costello said. “She walked into a bank disguised.”