Crime

Woman pleads not guilty to helping husband try to rob Lakewood bank

A 26-year-old Parkland woman accused of driving her husband to a Lakewood bank with a plan to rob it pleaded not guilty Friday to attempted first-degree robbery.

Pierce County Superior Court Commissioner Meagan Foley ordered Brittney Winston jailed in lieu of $500,000 bail at the request of deputy prosecutor Pat Cooper.

The prosecutor called Winston’s “ties to the community somewhat suspect” because she has an Indiana driver’s license and is unemployed.

Winston’s husband, Michael David Winston III, also is charged in the case and remains in the hospital recovering from five gunshot wounds. An armored car guard shot him in the bank foyer.

The 27-year-old Parkland man will be booked into the Pierce County Jail once he is released. He has not yet been arraigned.

The couple is charged with trying to rob a Bank of America branch in the 9500 block of Bridgeport Way Southwest on Monday.

Prosecutors allege Brittney Winston drove her husband to the bank, where he donned a fake beard, sunglasses and hat before walking into the bank.

The armored car guard who was at the bank said he noticed Michael Winston acting suspiciously outside and opened fire after the man pointed a gun at him and demanded money.

The guard fired seven times. Five bullets hit Michael Winston in the head, torso and leg. He limped to the stolen car his wife allegedly drove him to the bank in, and they fled.

Brittney Winston dropped her husband off at St. Joseph Medical Center about 25 minutes later and returned to the couple’s home.

When police served a search warrant at the home, they found a letter signed by Brittney Winston. It said the couple went to the bank to transfer money and were not involved in a failed robbery, according to charging papers.

She allegedly told police her husband was not wearing a disguise and usually carried a gun because he is an Army veteran.

Michael Winston was discharged from the Army in January, records show.

Brittney Winston evaded arrest for three days before police found her at her home Thursday and took her into custody. Before that, she was posting on her Facebook page and a Fundly.com fundraising page that the incident was a case of racial profiling.

Police said the car the Winstons drove to the bank was stolen last month at gunpoint by a man fitting Michael Winston’s description. Brittney Winston said they shared it with another couple in their neighborhood.

When detectives recovered the car in a church parking lot near the Winstons’ home, they found a loaded pistol covered in blood under the front passenger seat. A box missing a pistol was found in their home, court documents say.

In a dumpster near the abandoned car, investigators found a glove that matched one found outside the bank.

Officials said the couple’s two children, ages 2 months and 2 years, are in the custody of a grandmother.

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