Serial bank robber draws 3 ‘life’ terms

Mike Erwin |

TULSA — Three bank robberies earned three life terms, with no chance of parole, for a 59-year-old Talala man.

Jesse Bud Leaverton received the sentences recently in U.S. District Court for Northern Oklahoma.

Chief U.S. District Judge Gregory Frizzell said the federal three-strikes statute left him no other choice other than to give Leaverton the maximum punishment.

The judge cited Leaverton’s history of violent crimes, particularly a 1984 manslaughter charge to which the Talala man had pleaded guilty.

In September, federal court jurors had deliberated for less than 30 minutes before declaring Leaverton guilty of the three crimes.

All three banks were robbed within a 7-day period last June. The first two robberies took place June 18 and 23 in Tulsa, while the third was committed at Security State Bank in Fairfax on June 24.

Leaverton threatened tellers at each of the banks, implying that he was armed with a firearm,

Investigators with the Federal Marshal Violent Crimes Division arrested Leaverton in July at a highway rest stop in Missouri.

While awaiting trial, Leaverton granted an exclusive interview to KOTV News anchor Lori Fullbright. Leaverton told the reporter that he committed the robberies in order to pay for a $2,000 a day drug habit. He claimed that he was addicted to opiate-based pain relievers as a result of back injuries.

Leaverton has previously blamed his lifelong legal problems on personal difficulties encountered during his childhood.