EVERETT — He had 61 cents in his bank account, a $1 bill in his wallet and a car running low on gas.
Just after sunset, he was depositing the dollar into an ATM, when a robber came up from behind with a tire iron and took a two-handed swing, like a baseball hitter, according to charging papers filed in Snohomish County Superior Court.
The assailant cracked the customer, 30, across the skull around 4:30 p.m. Dec. 11. Security footage showed the robber tried to use the man’s ATM account, then calmly walked away.
Police found the wounded man at the BECU parking lot at 11127 Evergreen Way, with bleeding cuts to his head, slow speech and a foggy memory of what had just happened.
Staples closed the wounds to his head, and the following morning at the hospital, he was unable to write a statement for police.
The suspected attacker, Johnnie Jett Hilliard, 26, dropped his driver’s license in a parking lot of an apartment complex down the street. Police arrested him Dec. 17. Prosecutors have since charged him with first-degree robbery with a deadly weapon.
Hilliard admitted he attacked the man, according to the charges. He reportedly told police his phone was stolen a while ago, and someone used it to post on the internet that he’d been working with the police, causing his friends to shun him. Hilliard reported he heard someone named Rudy had shared that information, and he believed the thief often used the ATM at the BECU. Hilliard acknowledged, however, that he was “not really sure” if the man he attacked was actually Rudy, according to his statement to police. The victim of the assault is not named Rudy, and his first, middle and last names are not remotely close to Rudy.
Nonetheless, Hilliard recalled he watched and waited most of that day outside the ATM, carrying a tire iron he’d borrowed from a friend. Once the man arrived, and two other customers left the area, Hilliard came up from behind and hit him, the court papers say. He reared back to strike the man again, but the injured man went cross-eyed and started to flinch.
Hilliard took the man’s wallet — and found only the dollar, he reported. Then he tried to withdraw cash from the account, and found it contained even less than the wallet, the charges say. He left the man and jumped into a dark SUV. The wallet was abandoned in the parking lot, with the dollar bill still inside.
Three days after the robbery Hilliard was cited for shoplifting at Winco, wearing the same jacket as the robber in the credit union security footage, according to police.
Hilliard’s driver’s license was discovered in an apartment parking lot, about a quarter-mile west of the BECU. By the next day, Everett police had him in custody.
Police interviewed a man suspected of driving Hilliard away from the robbery scene. He told them he believed Hilliard had only gone to the BECU to make a withdrawal, but that he later heard Hilliard say something about a robbery. Officers found the tire iron in his Lexus, between the driver’s seat and the door.
The defendant remained jailed with bail set at $111,000 as of Wednesday.
According to the charges, Hilliard showed no remorse for the attack, because in his view, being labeled a snitch was “worse than getting hit with a crow bar.”
Caleb Hutton: 425-339-3454; email@example.com. Twitter: @snocaleb.