Everett repeat bank robber pleas guilty as fast as possible

James Kohlhepp, 46, was charged days ago with robbing a bank. At his first chance, he admitted guilt.

James Kohlhepp

James Kohlhepp

EVERETT — A repeat bank robber from Everett could not be persuaded to wait.

James Kohlhepp Jr., 46, had been advised by his public defender to be patient for a defense investigation, before deciding if he should admit guilt or not.

“And you are choosing not to take that advice?” the judge, Cindy Larsen, asked him in court Wednesday.

“That’s correct,” Kohlhepp said.

“And, um, why is that?” the judge asked.

“I committed a crime, and I’m accepting the outcome … that I robbed a bank,” he said. “The consequences are, well, it wasn’t a very good choice.”

Larsen accepted his swift plea of guilty to first-degree robbery. He’d been arrested July 23, charged Aug. 9, and convicted at his arraignment — a hearing where almost all defendants plea not guilty by default.

Kohlhepp told police last month he wanted to go back to prison, because he’d grown tired of living on the streets in Everett.

In 2015, he’d been sentenced to three years behind bars for a nearly identical robbery of a Bank of America in Marysville. He put a note on the counter, took the stash of cash, and stood outside to wait for the police. They didn’t stop him until he flagged them down. Court papers say he did it because prison would help him to stay sober.

Three months ago, Judge Larsen signed the paperwork confirming the end to his probation in his first robbery. At the time, he was enrolled in services to address “ongoing mental health issues,” according to court papers.

He slipped a note to another teller at 11:15 a.m. July 23, at a Chase Bank on Colby Avenue, the charges say.

“give me all your money!!!” the note read.

Kohlhepp took the cash, stood outside and waved the loot in the air. He walked off when the police response took longer than he’d expected. He called the cops about six hours later from a Motel 6. Again, he explained he wanted to go to prison because he needed help, according to the charges filed this month.

Until the two robberies, Kohlhepp hadn’t been convicted of a felony since 1993. The standard sentence for the crime is roughly 3½ to 4½ years for someone with his record.

He’s scheduled to be sentenced by Superior Court Judge Marybeth Dingledy on Aug. 26.

The crime is considered his second strike. A third strike would mean life in prison.

His guilty plea came in the middle of an afternoon court docket, where Kohlhepp was one of 25 defendants on a list.

“He would like to be sentenced as soon as possible,” defense attorney Robert O’Neal said. “He would do it today, if you were willing. I’m not sure that — ”

The judge finished his thought for him. The attorney had guessed right.

“I don’t have the time.”

Caleb Hutton: 425-339-3454; chutton@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @snocaleb.

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