Man Arrested for February Bank Robbery Found Guilty on All Charges
The man accused of robbing Hilltop National Bank in February was found guilty on all charges Wednesday in Natrona County District Court.
After the three day trial, it took jurors about an hour and a half to reach their verdict. Around 5:45PM, 26-year-old Michael Sanders was found guilty on the charges of aggravated robbery, aggravated assault and conspiracy to possess marijuana with intent to deliver.
According to police reports and witness testimony, on February 25, Sanders entered Hilltop Bank, pulled a long kitchen knife from his sleeve and demanded money from the bank tellers. He allegedly stole over $2,000 worth of cash.
At the trial, three bank tellers identified Sanders from a security camera image as the man who robbed the bank.
The day after the robbery, Sanders traveled to Thermopolis with his girlfriend and her friends. While there, he spent hundreds of dollars on alcohol.
Witnesses who took the stand said that it was unusual for Sanders, a local roofer, to have that kind of money.
The prosecution also accused Sanders of robbing the bank to pay for marijuana that he could later sell.
Sanders took the stand on Wednesday and told jurors that he did confess to robbing the bank when he met with investigators, but that he did so because he thought there was no way that they would believe that he was innocent. During his testimony in court, he retracted his earlier confession and told the courtroom that he did not rob the bank.
The prosecution played a recorded phone conversation from jail, during which Sanders told three different people that he needed an alibi and asked them for their help.
Sander's lawyer criticized the investigators for only showing witnesses a photo of Sanders, instead of using a photo lineup to identify other possible suspects.
Sanders had previously served three years at a state penitentiary in Ohio for robbing a bank.
He will be sentenced at later date.