Kirchele Shuler is in trouble after making dinner for her son and his friend.
Pierce County prosecutors might not have cared about that.
Except that Shuler worked as a bank teller, and the friend had robbed her earlier that day. Police say she didn’t identify him when they later showed her a photo montage.
Investigators said Shuler, 43, told her son about the May 4 hold-up when she got home, and he said he already knew, because one of his friends was responsible.
According to charging papers, 29-year-old Levaughn McVea demanded cash by handing Shuler a note at the Wells Fargo bank at 1001 Pacific Ave. It read in part: “This is a bank robbery. Move fast. Don’t be a hero.”
As part of plea negotiations, McVea pleaded guilty Thursday to first-degree theft, and Superior Court Judge James Orlando sentenced him to four years, nine months in prison.
McVea originally was charged with first-degree robbery, but prosecutors changed that to theft after Shuler said she hadn’t felt scared or threatened, according to court records.
“… since she was the only teller directly approached by the defendant, her statements make it impossible for the state to sustain a charge of robbery,” Deputy Prosecutor Kawyne Lund wrote in a court filing about the amended charge.
Shuler was in court Thursday as well, for arraignment on the charge of first-degree rendering criminal assistance. A not-guilty plea was entered on her behalf, and she was released on her own recognizance.
Defense attorney Joseph Evans told The News Tribune: “She strongly denies the charges.”
According to charging papers:
The day after the hold-up, Shuler said she couldn’t identify the robber when she looked at a police photo montage. Later, she said she had recognized the man, but didn’t identify him because she was in a stressful and uncomfortable situation.
Another employee at the bank told police Shuler said she made the man dinner after the heist, after her son identified him as a friend.
Shuler denied that, and said she thought her son’s friend might have looked like the crook, but decided it wasn’t him.
A corrections officer ultimately identified McVea from surveillance footage at the bank. McVea has prior convictions for theft, burglary, assault and other crimes.
As for Shuler’s son, prosecutors said she sought a restraining order against him in July, because he used drugs, and brought friends to the home to use drugs and alcohol.