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Jackson bank robber convicted

May 3, 2013 - The Associated Press

CHEYENNE -- A federal jury took just over an hour Thursday to convict an Australian man who said he robbed a bank in Wyoming so he could give money to the homeless.

Corey Donaldson, a burly 40-year-old, acted as his own attorney during the trial. He wrapped up his case Thursday without presenting any evidence or calling any witnesses.

Instead, Donaldson put all his bets on an impassioned closing argument, imploring the jury to find that he was justified in taking the money.

U.S. District Judge Alan B. Johnson had prohibited Donaldson from arguing that he was justified in robbing the US Bank in Jackson of more than $140,000 on New Year's Eve, and the judge sustained several objections from the prosecution during the closing argument.

Bank manager Jared Thomas Williams testified this week that he was terrified and turned over the cash after Donaldson told him that a Mexican cartel was ready blow up the building.

In his closing argument, Donaldson likened himself to Robin Hood. He told jurors that his actions were similar to those who stood up to British oppression in the American Revolution.

And Donaldson urged jurors to "consider Rosa Parks, a black woman who broke the law by sitting in a white person's seat."

"Even if the death penalty were available to you, I would still have done what I did to alleviate human suffering," Donaldson told the jury.

Donaldson confessed to investigators after he was arrested in Utah in late January. He told them he had intended to contact the FBI on his own and that he had given money away to needy people at a homeless shelter and others.

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