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Judge dissuades robber from seeking prison for medical help

BEATRICE, Neb. — A Nebraska man who robbed a bank with the goal of receiving medical treatment in prison has been asked by a judge to consider probation instead.

Terry L. Bailes, 54, appeared in Gage County District Court on Wednesday to be sentenced for attempted robbery, the Beatrice Daily Sun reported . He had pleaded no contest in the case.

Bailes developed a hand condition that prevents him from doing simple tasks, court records said. Because of the condition, he lost his job at Landoll Corporation and eventually lost his home, Bailes said.

Bailes asked a teller to call authorities when he demanded money from a Great Western Bank in October, court records said. He didn’t have a weapon and left the bank with $10. He then purchased cigarettes and waited for authorities to arrive.

Bailes said he has no family, and that going to prison might be the only way he could get medical attention.

“I felt as though my back was against the wall,” Bailes said. “I know it was a poor judgment. This way, I think I can get medical care.”

Bailes has other theft convictions in his criminal history, the most recent from 2005, said Judge Rick Schreiner.

Schreiner delayed the sentencing Wednesday and encouraged Bailes to consider probation. He also suggested Bailes to reach out to a friend who could support him. The judge said he doesn’t “believe prison is for the poor and homeless.”

“There may be some people who disagree with me,” Schreiner said. “You committed a bank robbery. I know that and people may say ‘That judge is soft, all bank robbers should go to prison.’ Those people haven’t read your presentence investigation and those people aren’t the ones tasked with this obligation.”

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