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Owner of getaway cars in 2017 bank robbery sentenced

A Vancouver woman who purchased the getaway vehicles in a June 2017 armed bank robbery that ended in the robber’s death was sentenced Friday in Clark County Superior Court to more than three years in prison.

Judge Gregory Gonzales sentenced Kathleen P. Fisher, 51, to 38 1/4 months for conspiracy to commit robbery, the lower end of the sentence that takes her previous felony convictions into account.

Fisher told the judge she was remorseful about the emotional harm suffered by iQ Credit Union employees, but she did not believe that 50-year-old David W. Hamilton of Centralia would follow through with his robbery plans.

“I keep playing it over and over and over in my head, and I think about what I could have done differently. I really didn’t think he was going to do this,” Fisher said, adding after her sentence was handed down that she and her husband made their living by selling cars. She sobbed as court officers later escorted her in handcuffs out of the courtroom.

Senior Deputy Prosecutor James Smith said Fisher was forewarned about the specifics of Hamilton’s plans for robbing the bank, including the use of an assault rifle and ending his life if he was caught by the police.

“Whether or not you’re sure, any reasonable person would have reached out to police. … She did not take steps to prevent it. She was not concerned about the safety of people in the community,” Smith said.

Fisher’s conviction stems from a June 6, 2017, incident at 15705 N.E. Fourth Plain Blvd. Hamilton died of multiple gunshot wounds after exchanging gunfire with pursuing police officers.

Witnesses said a man, later identified as Hamilton, ran into the credit union wearing a ski mask and holding an assault rifle. He pointed the rifle at several employees and demanded money. He then fled with a large amount of cash and sped off in a white Volvo. He drove to a nearby parking lot and switched vehicles to a purple Nissan, leading responding officers on a chase east on Northeast Fourth Plain Boulevard into a rural area, according to the Vancouver Police Department.

Officers used a special maneuver to strike Hamilton’s car, bringing it to a stop near the intersection of Northeast 182nd Avenue and 73rd Street. Hamilton then exchanged gunfire with three officers. He died at the scene. No officers were wounded, police said.

Investigators later learned that Fisher had arranged to purchase both the Volvo and Nissan for Hamilton, paying in cash. She reportedly told people that Hamilton was the dead robbery suspect before law enforcement had identified him, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Fisher admitted to buying both getaway vehicles and said she knew Hamilton was going to use them to rob a bank. He did not tell her which bank, she said, but he planned to arm himself with a rifle and body armor.

Defense attorney Aaron Ritchie said his client never took Hamilton’s plans seriously. Hamilton had the habit of talking about get-rich-quick schemes with his friends, Ritchie said.

“A lot of them were based around movies he repeatedly watched. A lot of vivid, elaborate, harebrained schemes,” Ritchie said.

“She was duped by him. She had heard it all before and didn’t think he would do anything,” he said.


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