TACOMA — Despite the determined efforts of Pierce County sheriff’s deputies, prosecutors and court officials, a bank robber managed to marry a former jail guard who lost her job after being accused of having sex with him.
The wedding day for Jimi James Hamilton, 28, and Sara Camarillo, 29, was Tuesday, a day before he was sentenced to more than 14 years in prison for a pair of bank robberies.
Sheriff’s deputies have asked prosecutors to determine how no one noticed the nuptials after authorities rejected the couple’s requests to be married. Hamilton tried but failed to get a jailhouse wedding included in his plea agreement, and county Superior Court Judge Katherine Stolz wouldn’t let them say their vows in her courtroom, either.
“There was no religious ceremony,” detective Ed Troyer said. “That never happened. They were never together.”
The couple were in the courtroom at the same time, but deputies blocked Hamilton from direct contact with Camarillo.
Even so, the required marriage form bearing Hamilton’s and Camarillo’s signatures was received Wednesday at the county auditor’s office and duly stamped and authorized.
State law, it turns out, requires that two witnesses be present and that the bride and groom declare their willingness to marry, but does not specify they must be together when they do so.
William T. Ferrell, a lawyer, signed the form certifying the marriage. One witness was Leslie E. Tolzin, Hamilton’s lawyer. The second witness’ name is illegible, The News Tribune of Tacoma reported.
Ferrell could not be reached for comment by the newspaper, but Tolzin said Ferrell was qualified to conduct the wedding as a minister.
“He is ordained so that he can perform marriages, and he is authorized to perform marriages,” Tolzin said. “It was a legal wedding.”
Hamilton, whose record includes a bank robbery conviction in 1999, was accused of destruction of property and throwing feces at a jail guard, but related charges were dropped in the plea agreement.
The conviction left him one violent offense away from a mandatory life prison term.
Camarillo, who resigned in September after being faced with likely dismissal, was arrested for investigation of custodial misconduct and was released on bail paid by Hamilton’s mother but has not been charged.