Woman gets prison for failed bank heist

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SAN DIEGO — A woman who participated in a failed bank heist in which an accomplice was shot by a security guard was sentenced Thursday to 19 years in state prison.

Laura Elshire, 42, pleaded guilty in November to a pair of robbery counts and possession of a deadly weapon — razor blades — at a penal institution.

Elshire’s sentence was doubled by Judge Leo Valentine Jr.because of a 1997 conviction for attempted murder. She has been to prison twice before.  Elshire’s uncle pleaded for leniency siting her rough upbringing that included drugs and abuse.

“Laura never had a shot. Her birth mother and her father were both into drugs,” said Elshire’s uncle Jerry Alexander, Junior. “All Laura and her sister had to do was open a closet and there were the drugs.”

She was charged, along with Robert Anthony Hodge and Casey Allen Wilson, with holding up a Wells Fargo branch last year near La Jolla Village Drive, in which Wilson was shot in the face and arm.

During that June 11 robbery, Wilson told the teller to hurry and repeated the demand before switching on an electric stun gun he was carrying, according to court testimony.

A security officer, Luis Apodaca, testified that he realized what was happening and told Elshire, who was wearing a blond wig, to lie down on the floor along with Wilson. Instead, the witness said, Wilson began striding quickly toward the guard, prompting him to fire two shots.

Wilson ran out of the building with wounds to his face and one of his arms and got into a waiting car, which sped off. The getaway vehicle was driven by Hodge.

Inside the bank, while the two male suspects fled, the security guard again ordered Elshire to surrender. She refused and tried to flee, but the guard hit her over the head, tackled her and took her into custody, Apodaca testified.

About 45 minutes later, Wilson was dropped off at a hospital for treatment. Hodge was captured later in Mexico.

Hodge, 28, pleaded guilty to robbing six banks, including a second holdup at the La Jolla Village Wells Fargo branch. He is scheduled to be sentenced on March 21.

Wilson, also 28, pleaded guilty to charges stemming from two robberies and was sentenced to five years in prison.

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