LUBBOCK, Texas - A 91-year-old man who walks with a cane and is hard of hearing pleaded guilty Thursday to stealing nearly $2,000 from a bank, his third such robbery in less than five years.
Leaning on his cane and wearing a headset to listen to the judge, J.L. Hunter "Red" Rountree initially responded "not guilty" when asked for his plea.
"I mean, `Guilty,'" Rountree later said. "I'm sorry."
In August, Rountree handed a First American Bank teller in Abilene an envelope with "Robbery" written on it in red marker, prosecutors said. He gave her a second envelope, telling her to put money in it. Twice the teller asked if he was kidding. After the first time, Rountree said, "Hurry up or you will get hurt."
A bank employee and some customers got Rountree's license plate number as he left the parking lot. Authorities stopped him about 20 miles from Abilene.
His lawyer, Shery Kime-Goodwin, declined to comment.
Authorities say Rountree's crime spree began in 1998, a week before his 87th birthday. He was arrested in Biloxi, Miss., minutes after robbing a bank. He was given three years' probation, fined $260 and told to leave Mississippi.
Less than a year later, in October 1999, he was arrested outside a NationsBank in Pensacola, Fla., after giving a teller a note that said "ROBBERY" and telling her, "Give me the $100s." He was convicted of bank robbery and sentenced to three years in prison, becoming the oldest inmate in the Florida prison system.
Rountree faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine in the Texas robbery. A sentencing date has not been set.
Geezus, I'm not suprised they were able to catch him.