Woman Gets 10 Years in String of Bank Heists
Wrapping up a modern-day Bonnie and Clyde case that stretched around the world, a woman accused of helping her boyfriend rob banks across the West was sentenced Thursday to 10 years in prison and ordered to repay more than $231,000.
Nova Guthrie, 31, turned and smiled at her parents and other relatives after hearing her punishment. Her father, Ralph Guthrie, waved at her as she was led away.
Guthrie pleaded guilty this year to three robberies in Colorado, New Mexico and Oregon in a deal that called for a sentence of nine to 11 years. Sentencing was delayed while her attorney challenged federal sentencing guidelines, saying she should serve five to seven years instead.
U.S. District Judge Daniel Sparr sentenced Guthrie to three 10-year sentences that will be served simultaneously. She also will be on probation for five years.
Authorities blamed Guthrie and her boyfriend, Craig Pritchert, for a string of bank robberies in Arizona, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas and Washington between 1997 and 1999. The two, who allegedly got away with some $500,000, were captured in South Africa last year, living under assumed names.
Guthrie spoke briefly to Sparr during the hearing, agreeing that she stayed with Pritchert even after finding out he robbed banks.
“All you thought about was how you wanted to be with Mr. Pritchert, how you wanted to protect him,” Sparr said. But that protection ended up hurting others, the judge said, including two former bank workers who testified during the hearing.
Jeannie Wyatt told the court she was held at gunpoint by Pritchert in an Aztec, N.M., bank in 1998 and saw Guthrie in a blue car.
“I looked right at her face, and I thought she was here to help me,” Wyatt said tearfully. She said she eventually quit the banking industry because she was too scared.
“I’m never able to forget Miss Guthrie,” she said.
Guthrie’s family submitted letters to the judge but declined to speak to him during the hearing. They declined comment to reporters.
Pritchert, 43, was recently sentenced to 22 1/2 years in prison after pleading guilty to robberies in Colorado, Oregon and Arizona. He also was ordered to pay $206,406 in restitution.