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Sunday, October 25, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Newport woman guilty of conspiracy

A 29-year-old woman who drove a getaway truck after a Newport, Wash., bank robbery earlier this year was convicted of conspiracy Monday in U.S. District Court in Spokane.

The 12-member jury found Jamie Vaudeen Whittenburg not guilty of two other charges – aiding and abetting armed bank robbery and using or brandishing a firearm in connection with a violent crime.

Whittenburg, who lives in Newport, was one of four suspects arrested following the Feb. 26, 2007, robbery of a Bank of America branch in Newport. Indictments filed in the case say $7,975 was taken in the holdup.

Shortly afterward, Newport police found the getaway vehicle parked less than a mile away at Whittenburg’s residence, a witness testified in her trial, which began Oct. 23.

The jury got the case on Thursday and concluded deliberations at midday Monday.

Co-defendants Benjamin Lee Pontnak and Joshua Leland DeVore both pleaded guilty earlier this year to armed bank robbery, conspiracy and use of a firearm in a crime of violence.

The third defendant, Karen May Vineyard, pleaded guilty to conspiracy.

As part of plea agreements with the U.S. attorney’s office, Pontnak, DeVore and Vineyard, all of Newport, testified against Whittenburg and are in custody, awaiting sentencing.

Whittenburg took the witness stand in her own defense, testifying that she did not have advance knowledge of the robbery carried out by her friends.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Harrington, who prosecuted the case, said an FBI investigation revealed it was Pontnak who entered the bank, brandishing a handgun, after DeVore went in for surveillance.

After Monday’s verdict, Whittenburg was allowed to remain free until a hearing Wednesday before Judge Robert Whaley, where Harrington said he will seek her pre-sentence detention.

The crime of conspiracy to commit bank robbery carries a maximum sentence of 60 months in prison.

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