Trial begins for bank robbery suspect

May. 29, 2014 @ 03:50 PM

This article has been updated to reflect the following change: The Superior Court Judge presiding over this case is Thomas Lock.

The trial of the Henderson resident accused of robbing a Bank of America on South Garnett Street last September began Wednesday with opening statements and witnesses.Johnnie Mack, 56, was arrested less than hour after the incident occurred Sept. 27, 2013.

He has pleaded not guilty to the charge of common-law robbery and is represented by Scott Hamilton. Superior Court Judge Thomas Lock is presiding over the case, and Assistant District Attorney Allison Capps is the prosecutor.

Catalina Wood, the only bank teller working when the robbery occurred, testified as a witness for the state Wednesday.

She said she noticed a strange looking man walk into the bank around 4:15 p.m.

She said he was wearing a short red-brown wig, sunglasses, one earring, a gray-stripped shirt, jeans and carrying a straw pocketbook.

Wood said he approached her counter and asked, “Do you have a family?”

She said she didn’t respond, and he asked her again, but she still didn’t respond.

“Your life flashes before your eyes because you don’t know what is going to happen,” Wood said in court Wednesday. “I was scared. You are not going to let them know you have a family because you don’t want them to hurt either so, of course, that is all I was thinking about — was my family.”

She said he handed her a note telling her to give him all her money. She said she took the pocket book from him and began to put money in it.

“Thankfully Ms. Wood did exactly as she was trained to do,” Capps said in her opening statement. “As she was putting the money from her drawer into the pocketbook, she also put — what Bank of America keeps in all of their teller drawers — a GPS tracking device that is located in a packet of money. She put that into this person’s bag without him knowing.”

The tracking device, which immediately notified the Henderson Police Department and Bank of America of the robbery, led officers to 316 Gary St., Henderson.

Police officers located Mack at 316 Gary St. and arrested him.

The remaining witnesses who testified Wednesday for the state included the responding Henderson police officers and a protective services manager at the Bank of America.

The state is scheduled to call one more witness today before closing statements begin.

 

Contact the writer at smansur@hendersondispatch.com.