The case of the “Big Top Bandits” came to an end in Wichita County Wednesday after the jury in less than 20 minutes found Jeffery Pool, 53, guilty on both counts of aggravated robbery.
Pool is already serving a 9-year sentence in Washington state for a string of bank robberies in the Seattle area, and he is looking at many more years behind bars.
Authorities say the robbers were identified from fingerprints from a water bottle thrown away before a robbery.
After a two hour long deliberation for punishment, Pool was sentenced to two 99 year sentences for armed robberies in Wichita Falls before the Washington bank robberies.
Pool was convicted of holdups at a convenience store and a pizza restaurant in July 2011.
During the trial, Pool elected to be absent from the courtroom.
First Assistant District Attorney Stephen Rancourt said it is not rare for a defendant to decline his right to show up for his trial however it is imperative for them to be in attendance for the delivery of their sentence.
“So the governor’s office in Washington are going to be one of the people we will reach out to very soon let them know the sentence he got in Texas based on the Detainer’s Act Washington state will then have to make a decision about whether or not they want him back to serve the duration of the Washington sentence,” Rancourt said.
During the trial, Pool chose to stay in his jail cell for all the testimony and reading of the jury’s verdict.
But he had no choice when it came time for sentencing.
Rancourt told me it is not rare for defendants to decline their right to be in the courtroom, but that is not an option in the sentencing.
In this case, Pool refused to show up in court and additionally did not want to be represented by the attorney appointed to him, however, he was brought in for his sentencing.
It is unclear whether Pool will be returned to Washington to finish his sentence there or if he will remain in custody here.
Pool began serving his bank robbery sentence in Washington in 2015.
He will receive credit for more than 1,200 days served.