October 29, 1997 in City

Bank Robber Tells Court He Deserves Fate

By The Spokesman-Review
 

A bank robber who called himself the “Humble Borrower” in a note he gave tellers says his arrest for two Spokane robberies helped turn his drug-influenced life around.

“I’ll take my punishment because I’ve got it coming,” a tearful Travis A. Joy told U.S. District Judge Frem Nielsen.

Joy, 28, and Marc R. Michelson, 25, confessed to robbing two banks immediately after being arrested by the FBI on May 16.

On Tuesday, the judge sentenced Joy to 37 months in federal prison - the same sentence he gave Michelson earlier this month.

Nielsen allowed Joy to remain free and voluntarily surrender once the U.S. Bureau of Prisons designates the facility where he will serve his term.

After seven months in prison, Joy will be eligible for boot camp, where nonviolent drug offenders work, complete drug counseling and begin making restitution.

Joy and Michelson are jointly responsible for making more than $19,100 in restitution to the two banks.

The two men were arrested at Joy’s home at 19122 E. Valleyway a day after his neighbor recognized him in a bank robbery surveillance photo published in the newspaper.

The robbers got $14,828 in the March 5 holdup at Washington Trust, 611 E 31st, authorities said.

Joy handed the teller a robbery note that was almost apologetic in tone. He promised to repay the money at $100 a month and signed it, “Humble Borrower.”

On March 9, the pair fled on mountain bikes after robbing Sterling Savings, 103 E. Queen, of $4,371.

“I can’t believe it’s me standing here because I’ve never stolen before in my life,” Joy told the judge.

“I wish I could give myself an excuse, but I can’t,” said the journeyman equipment operator who makes $26 an hour.

Defense attorney Steve Hormel said Joy got involved in the bank robberies because of an addiction to methamphetamine.

Joy started using the drug by putting it in his coffee to keep him awake, then graduated to smoking meth, Hormel said.

Only a short time before he started using meth, Joy said, his son was enrolled in a DARE program at school and told him that the drug is called crank.

“Now, my son is probably the hardest person for me to face,” Joy told the judge.

The robber said his life was at rockbottom the day two FBI agents knocked on his door. Joy called the agents “great guys.”

“That was the best thing that ever happened to me,” Joy said. “I’m sorry it took a bank robbery or two.”

Upon his release from prison, Joy must complete three years of federal supervision.

, DataTimes

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