HELENA — The man accused of robbing a Helena bank last week has still not officially made his initial appearance in Lewis and Clark County Justice Court as of Tuesday afternoon.
45-year-old John James Laverdure of Helena faces the charges of felony robbery and felony theft. Laverdure appeared before County Justice of the Peace Mark Piskolich on Monday but was unresponsive to the judge's remarks.
According to court documents, a man went into the Valley Bank branch on 9th Avenue Friday afternoon, wearing a mask and sunglasses. He passed a note to an employee that said, “Large bills only, new sudden movements, no police.” The employee handed the suspect money, and he left on foot.
Documents say a witness described the suspect as having a tattoo on the side of his neck. Helena police officers believed Laverdure to be the individual matching the description, having been involved in similar incidents in the past.
In 2016 Laverdure plead down a robbery charge in 2016 to felony theft. Laverdure entered a plea of guilty but mentally ill for going into the Rocky Mountain Credit Union on Montana Ave., on Dec. 11 and giving a teller a note demanding cash, specifically large bills.
According to documents, police had contact with Laverdure the day before and knew the vehicle he was driving. Officers said they found him at a gas station on Euclid Avenue and detained him.
Court documents say officers found Laverdure had an envelope from the bank, containing several large-denomination bills. They also say they found clothes in his vehicle that appeared to match with surveillance video of the robbery suspect.
Laverdure appeared before County Justice of the Peace Mark Piskolich on Monday but was unresponsive to the judge's remarks.