- Associated Press - Thursday, April 5, 2018

BEATRICE, Neb. (AP) - A Nebraska man who robbed a bank so he could receive medical treatment in prison has been sentenced to probation.

A Gage County District judge sentenced Terry L. Bailes this week to three years’ probation for attempted robbery after he pleaded no contest. Bailes, 54, will serve probation in Missouri, where a friend agreed to help provide him a support system.

Judge Rick Schreiner acknowledged that a probation sentence is highly unusual in a bank robbery case.

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“This was a bank robbery, but your motivation was not profit,” Schreiner said. “I take the motivation for the offense into consideration and the motivation was to survive.”

Bailes developed a hand condition preventing him from doing simple tasks. The condition eventually led to him losing his job and residence.

Bailes demanded money in October from a teller at Great Western Bank in Beatrice, and then asked the teller to call authorities, according to court records. He was unarmed and walked out with $10 in hand. Bailes then purchased cigarettes and waited for authorities to arrive.

He said he thought prison was the only way to receive medical attention because he was homeless and without family.

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

Bailes will stay in custody for at least another 45 days to transfer his probation from Nebraska to Missouri, Schreiner said. The judge also required Bailes to earn a GED diploma as part of his sentence.

Schreiner acknowledged Bailes has a criminal history involving theft, but delayed his sentencing last month for Bailes to consider probation. The judge said he doesn’t “believe prison is for the poor and homeless.”

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