Michael Anthony Lar is shown his seat in Lewis County Superior Court this morning.
By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter
CHEHALIS – Defense attorney Don Blair asked a judge today to suppress evidence against accused bank robber Michael Anthony Lar, contending police made an illegal arrest of Lar in January 2010.
Lar is currently serving a sentence of life in prison without any possibility of release following his conviction for the attempted robbery of Twin Star Credit Union in Centralia on January 25 of last year.
While he was being held in the Lewis County Jail and on trial, police got DNA samples they say matched material found on duct tape from an unsolved similar robbery at the same financial institution in January 2009.
The 58-year-old is awaiting trial on the 2009 robbery.
Blair told Lewis County Superior Court Judge James Lawler today his motion to suppress evidence stems from the arrest in the 2010 case, and an expected decision this fall on Lar’s appeal of that conviction could settle the issue.
The judge did not make any decision today on the motion.
Employees arriving for work at Twin Star Credit Union on South Gold Street early on Jan. 25, 2010 found a man inside, who held one of them briefly, until an arriving Centralia police officer pulled her out a door to safety and fired two shots at the man inside the bank.
Officers set up containment around the building and entered several hours later to find nobody inside.
About 9:45 p.m. that night, according to Blair’s motion, Olympia police were advised of a suspicious person waiting for a cab at a downtown hotel; Lar was taken by a taxi but pulled over about two blocks away.
Blair goes on to write: Lar was ordered out of the vehicle at gunpoint and ordered to lay face down on the ground. Arriving Centralia police officers immediately ordered Olympia officers to arrest him.
“At the time Mr. Lar was arrested, he had not even been rolled over from where he was laying,” Blair wrote.
Lar was taken to the Olympia Police Department where he was searched and photographed, according to Blair.
Charging documents in the case describe a Centralia police officer who waited in the hospital room with Lar at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, and then interviewed him.
Blair writes the the burden is on prosecutors to prove the warrantless seizure and arrest was justified under one of the exceptions to the warrant requirement.
Lar’s trial is currently scheduled for the week of Nov. 28.
Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer today said even though Lar was sentenced to life under the three strikes law for the 2010 case, his office finds it necessary to pursue charges in the 2009 robbery.
That’s because it’s potentially possible Lar could be successful in his current appeal, Meyer said.
Read background on the two cases, here