Friday, February 23, 2001

Bearded man admits holdups


Earlier claimed mistaken identity

By Dan Horn
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Some eyewitnesses were wrong last year when they picked James Scarboro out of a photo lineup as a Cincinnati bank robber.

        But the witnesses who got it right were convincing enough to send Mr. Scarboro to prison for three years.

Scarboro
Scarboro
        The Mount Washington man pleaded guilty to four bank robberies Thursday after prosecutors agreed to drop charges involving a fifth robbery.

        The case stirred up an old debate over the reliability of eyewitness identification because Mr. Scarboro had claimed police arrested the wrong man.

        He said he could not have done any of the robberies because he had a beard at the same time witnesses reported seeing a clean-shaven robber.

        Prosecutors acknowledged Thursday that Mr. Scarboro was wrongly accused of one robbery, but not all of them.

        He decided to plead guilty when prosecutors dropped one charge and offered him a sentence of three years on the other four charges. As part of the deal, he also admitted to another bank robbery for which he had not been charged.

        If not for the plea deal, Mr. Scarboro, 39, could have faced up to 20 years in prison.

        “I think everyone's glad this worked out the way it did,” said Mr. Scarboro's lawyer, Timothy Cutcher.

       



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