A 22-year-old Nebraska man who was charged for robbing a Mitchell bank and kidnapping a victim in 2015 was sentenced Tuesday to serve five years in prison, avoiding a 25-year sentence.
In addition to his prison sentence, Jose Campos, of South Sioux City, Nebraska, was ordered to pay $100,000 in restitution fees. Heading into Tuesday’s sentencing hearing, Campos pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree robbery in connection to the 2015 incident that involved Campos demanding an undisclosed amount of money at First Dakota National Bank on North Main Street and forcing a bank teller to his vehicle with a knife.
Following the bank robbery, authorities were unable to arrest Campos until he turned himself in this past summer while residing in California, roughly five years after the incident. Campos provided testimony in front of a packed courtroom on Tuesday, expressing remorse to the victim.
"Five years ago, I made a terrible, irresponsible decision and mistake. I wish I hadn’t, but I did. I not only put myself in danger, I put others in danger. I'm deeply sorry,” Campos said. “I can confidently say that I am not that person today. It's easy to talk the talk, but I am here today to walk the walk. I can be better and will be better.”
Prior to the plea agreement, Campos faced two counts of robbery charges, two counts for kidnapping and an attempted kidnapping charge. However, a plea agreement with the Davison County State’s Attorney’s office dropped the other charges and left the first-degree robbery charge as Campos’ remaining offense.
Davison County State’s Attorney Jim Miskimins was seeking the maximum penalty of 25 years and asked Campos to pay First Dakota National Bank restitution in the amount of $100,000. Miskimins emphasized the trauma the victim faced during and after the incident.
"The letter of the victim statement was one of the most impactful that I've ever seen. I ask you to consider the comments and statements made by the victim,” Miskimins said.
Judge Chris Giles pointed to Campos' efforts to rehabilitate himself since the robbery and his act of turning himself in, as part of his reasoning for suspending 20 years of the recommended 25-year prison sentence.
“It does appear that he has expressed remorse for his actions. He credits the decision to turn himself in on the upbringing he had as a child and going back to his religious beliefs," Giles said of Campos. "It does appear that drug use at the time was a significant factor at the time of the incident. Mr. Campos, you made an extreme error in judgement at a very early age in your life, but I do think you are remorseful for that.”
For the victim involved in the robbery, Giles authorized up to $3,000 for counseling services.
“We have a victim who in the last five years is constantly having to look over her shoulder after this incident, and she is left to struggle with that,” Giles said.