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Judge says no deal for bank robber

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 October 2013 at 12:00 am

Punch wants psychiatric evaluation for Rothmund

Jeremy Rothmund

Rothmund in his July mugshot

ALBION – A Rochester man confessed in court today that he robbed the Bank of America in Albion on July 2, showing up at the bank wearing a mask and threatening a clerk with a bomb that later was discovered to be fake.

Jeremy Rothmund, 30, admitted the crime as part of a plea deal that would reduce his sentence from a maximum of 20 years in state prison to no more than 15 years.

However, County Court Judge James Punch, after listening to Rothmund, said he couldn’t accept the plea without a psychiatric evaluation for Rothmund, who also confessed in court to robbing two banks in the town of Greece.

Rothmund is being held in a psychiatric facility after attempting suicide in the Orleans County Jail earlier this month. Rothmund on Oct. 16 also injured a corrections officer in the county jail. He hasn’t been charged yet with that crime.

Punch told Rothmund a plea deal for the bank robbery wouldn’t include all of Rothmund’s other crimes.

“You’re not getting a blank check for everything you ever did,” Punch told him.

Rothmund hasn’t been diagnosed with mental health issues, nor is he taking any medications, he told Judge Punch in court today. But Rothmund said he feels stress from the “proceedings” – being in jail and facing a lengthy prison sentence.

In court, he said his girlfriend, Elyse A. Hoffer, didn’t know he was robbing banks. Rothmund said he told her to park behind the Freeze-Dry building on Route 31 near the railroad tracks while he went to buy drugs.

Rothmund returned with a bag full of $18,000. He said he told Huffer to drive fast out of town. (The two were later stopped and arrested in Holley after a resident identified them in Albion and called the police.)

Punch questioned Rothmund about the claim that Huffer didn’t know she was driving the getaway car from a robbery. Rothmund told the judge she didn’t know beforehand if he was robbing a bank, but she later realized it.

Punch said the plea offer was made with the premise that Rothmund was unaided in the robberies. But the judge said Huffer clearly assisted Rothmund, even if she was “tricked.”

Punch ordered the psychiatric evaluation for Rothmund, who is due back in court at 2 p.m. on Nov. 18.