Scottsdale bank robbery results in 7.5-year sentence

A man whose criminal history in Arizona spans two decades was sentenced Monday morning to more than seven years in federal prison for a Scottsdale bank robbery that took place in September.

Eddie Lee Hatch, 55, told U.S. District Court Judge John Tuchi that he “couldn’t take living in the real world,” and attributed this sentiment to his very long criminal history. According to court records, Hatch has been asking the court for leniency for the same reason since 1992.

“I don’t know how to live out there,” Hatch said in court. “I reverted to what I have always known, but I am teachable.”

Hatch’s defense attorney, Gerald Williams, asked the judge to give him a lighter sentence due to his old age and said that there weren’t many programs available for Hatch to learn how to live outside of prison.

Hatch pleaded guilty to robbing a BBVA Compass Bank in September where he demanded money from the teller and said, “Don’t give me a dye pack or I’ll shoot you,” according to court records.

The victim told police he was concerned that Hatch had a gun, but was not sure that he actually had a weapon, court records show.

The teller provided Hatch with $3,694 including $100 in bait bills, records show.

Hatch fled the scene and later stopped to give money to two homeless individuals near a dental office, according to court records.

Hatch decided after the bank robbery that he did not want to be taken back into custody, according to court records, and he tried to get police to kill him. Hatch attempted to achieve his goal by ramming the accelerator of his car, causing it to collide with and move a police cruiser, before physically fighting with multiple officers who had already shocked Hatch with a Taser, according to court records.

Prosecutors insisted Monday that there were resources available, but that Hatch did not take advantage of those available to him.

“It appears he is not going to change,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Rachel Stoddard said.

According to court records, Hatch has a long history of threatening to use a gun on his victims, including a robbery in 1981 and a robbery at a Pizza Hut in 1992. Once released from prison, in 2001, Hatch returned to his pattern of violence with firearms by pointing at semi-automatic pistol at his girlfriend’s son before striking him on the back of the head, according to court records.

In his latest robbery, the branch manager of the bank and his 8-year-old daughter were present, causing “secondary trauma and emotional distress,” according to court records. Stoddard cited this as another reason the judge should not sentence Hatch with leniency.

“Don’t make this a death sentence for me,” Hatch asked Tuchi. “I will get out of there and change.”

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