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Florida Keys News - Key West Citizen
Wednesday, January 2, 2013
Lawyer wants evidence tossed out
He claims a warrant was not used insearch

Lawyers for a man accused of robbing a Flagler Avenue bank in October are asking a judge to toss evidence in the case -- mainly the $4,000 found in his backpack by police shortly after the incident, according to a federal court documents.

Timothy Homrighausen , 53, was identified by a teller as the robber of the Bank of America on Oct. 17 and he was subsequently arrested at Dons' Place, 1000 Truman Ave. He faces 20 years in prison if convicted.

His federal public defender, Stewart Abrams, argues that Homrighausen never consented to a warrantless search of his backpack, that Key West police later searched at their headquarters where they were holding Homrighausen for questioning, according to an 11-page motion filed in federal court last month.

"The defendant made no post-arrest statements in regard to the offense," Abrams wrote. "Further, at no time did the defendant consent to the search of his personal property."

Abrams further argued that Key West police mishandled Homrighausen's identification by a teller at the bank, according to court documents. The teller was able to describe the bank robber's appearance and his clothes to police when she was interviewed, but police erred in showing her a bank surveillance video of the incident, Abrams wrote.

"Consequently, the witness' reliance on her memory was compromised by her being shown a surveillance video and/or photographs prior to being asked to attempt to identify the bank robber," Abrams wrote. "This procedure begs the question whether the witness teller then identified the person who robbed the bank or identified a person with similar physical features as the person who she observed in the video/photographs."

A judge has yet to rule as to whether the money or the teller's identification of Homrighausen will be admissible in trial.

On Friday, presiding U.S. District Judge James Lawrence King referred the decision to U.S. Magistrate Judge Chris M. McAliley.

Homrighausen never brandished a weapon when he reportedly demanded money from the teller. The case marks Homrighausen's third arrest for bank robbery, but he beat the charge once. The acquittal came not long after he had served about 34 months for a separate bank robbery, court records show.

On April 4, 2006, a federal jury acquitted Homrighausen of a bank robbery that prosecutors said he had committed the prior January at the TIB Bank of the Keys, 330 Whitehead St. in Key West.

In that case, Homrighausen allegedly walked up to a teller with his hand inside his jacket pocket, saying, "I have a weapon. I don't want to hurt anyone. Give me all your money," according to U.S. Attorney court documents.

Prosecutors said that Homrighausen was a homeless, unemployed Key Wester addicted to heroin, cocaine and oxycodone, and that he admitted to agents a month after the crime that he had robbed the bank of $6,831 in cash.

At the time agents questioned Homrighausen, they said they found $3,040 in mostly $100 bills in his pockets, although the wad didn't contain any of the "bait bills" the teller slipped to the robber.

On appeal, Homrighausen fought to get back the $3,040 in evidence that the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in 2008 said was legally his.

But two years later, the district judge in Miami later ruled that Homrighausen can have the money -- as long as he gave it to the U.S. Treasury as partial payback for his public defender.

alinhardt@keysnews.com

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