TOMS RIVER, N.J. – A woman who drove the getaway car in a bank robbery pulled off by her twin 14-year-old daughters was sentenced to 15 years in prison Friday.
Kathleen Wortman Jones (search), 35, tearfully apologized for her role in the holdup, which was aimed at saving her home from foreclosure but instead tore her family apart.
"They're all going to jail over one aberrant, stupid day in their lives," said defense attorney Lawrence Welle.
Wortman Jones pleaded guilty to armed robbery and using a juvenile to commit an offense. She could have gotten 30 years from Judge James Citta (search).
Using masks and a toy pistol painted with nail polish to make it look more realistic, her daughters walked into a bank last Oct. 29, appearing so harmless a teller thought they were in Halloween costumes. They took $3,550 in a trash bag and ran back to the family car, idling around the corner.
Mother and daughters were caught three days later after being identified with help from the bank surveillance video.
The twins pleaded guilty and are serving four-year terms in a juvenile facility. Their stepfather is awaiting sentencing for hindering apprehension and receiving stolen property. Wortman Jones and the twins testified he did not know about the robbery ahead of time.
Prosecutor Michel Paulhus (search) said Wortman Jones chose the bank, picked out the toy gun and cut the eyeholes in the nylons the girls used as masks.
"She's not a victim. She's not a bystander. She's the mastermind. She's the organizer," Paulhus said. "She used her own children, her own flesh and blood, two 14-year-old girls. She sent them into a federally insured bank with the purpose of robbing it."