Mon, Oct. 21

Man pleads guilty in three-bank robbery spree

Surveillance photo of Campbell during one of his three bank robberies.

Surveillance photo of Campbell during one of his three bank robberies.

PRESCOTT - Kevin L. Campbell, accused of robbing three Yavapai County banks in February, accepted a plea agreement in court Wednesday and will likely serve 21 years in prison.

Campbell, 54, faced an eight-count indictment on charges including theft, robbery, endangerment, and unlawful flight from law enforcement.

The charges stem from bank robberies Campbell committed on Feb. 4 in Camp Verde; Feb. 11 in Cottonwood; and Feb. 21 in Chino Valley. He got away with a total of $5,800. He also faces charges in a late January bank robbery in Mohave County.

He was arrested after Chino Valley National Bank of Arizona employees were able to get the license plate number of his car, and an Arizona Department of Public Safety officer spotted the vehicle going south on Highway 89 between Chino Valley and Prescott.

The DPS officer pursued Campbell, hitting speeds around 100 miles an hour, before ending the chase near Willow Creek and Willow Lake roads in Prescott because it was becoming too dangerous to continue.

His car was later found in Mayer and he was located hiding in an unoccupied travel trailer in Cordes Lakes.

Campbell's sentence could be made more lengthy because he has what Deputy County Attorney Bill Hughes called a "horrific" record of prior felony convictions.

Campbell was released from prison in January 2012 after serving 10 years for robbery, theft, aggravated assault and forgery in Mohave County.

Superior Court Judge Jennifer B, Campbell (no relation) told Campbell that he was looking at a possible sentence of 52 years in prison if he was convicted at trial.

Although he said the prosecution has "a mountain of evidence" in the case, Hughes offered a plea deal and asked for 25 years.

He noted that all three bank tellers were traumatized, despite Campbell's lack of a weapon. One, he said, had quit; a second was "terrified" for weeks; and the third had been losing sleep and "went out and bought a gun."

Campbell's attorney, Stephanie Willison, argued for a shorter term.

"Mr. Campbell is prepared to take responsibility" for the crimes, she said. "He admitted to this conduct."

The judge told Campbell, "You have a history of similar conduct," and said he was a "risk to the community.

"Four separate robberies. Four. You haven't learned from your past behavior," the judge said, noting his previous time in prison.

She said she would most likely sentence him to 21 years in prison if he accepted the plea, which cut the charges down to six.

After a brief recess, Campbell accepted the plea.

The judge set sentencing for November.

Follow Scott Orr on Twitter @AZNewsguy.

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