Accused bank robber says he’s innocent
EAGLE – Asa Meek said he spent the entire day of Oct. 18 at home in Edwards while the First Bank nearby was allegedly robbed.”I need to let the community know I am innocent,” Meek said in a letter presented to the Vail Daily Tuesday at the Eagle County jail. Meek, who is being held at the jail on $50,000 bond, has trouble speaking due to a head injury suffered in a car accident.Both Meek’s roommate Walter Stackhouse and another woman were also at the house the entire day, Meek said. Stackhouse did not immediately return phone messages left for him. Meek is accused of robbing an undisclosed amount of money from the bank with a note reading, “I wont all the money and no die pack Now.”The 61-year-old man, who wears dark-tinted glasses, refutes much of the evidence against him gathered by the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office.Investigators said the robber was 5 feet 1 inch tall, wearing a denim jacket. Meek said he is 5 feet 8 inches and does not own a denim jacket. Deputies did not find the jacket or money at his home, Meek said.The teller involved said the man quickly walked away from the building, but a bad hip keeps Meek from walking fast, he said.
“I live over two miles away from the bank and I am in poor health to be able to walk that distance, it is totally out of the question,” Meek said.Meek takes the bus to town because he does not own a car, he said. On the day of the robbery, no one saw him on the bus, something deputies said was not relevant.”So there are no witnesses seeing me walking on Highway 6, on the bus, in a taxi or riding along in someone else’s car on the day of the bank robbery,” he said.Investigators could not say for sure whether Meek was seen in someone else’s car on the day of the robbery.Health and legal problemsMeek said he needs better legal representation to immediately get out of jail and deal with unresolved health problems at the Veteran’s Administration hospital in Denver, where he normally receives treatment.”I have a public defender (Mr. Ken Barker), who is doing everything that he possibly can do,” Meek said. “But he has problems understanding me, much as I have problems understanding the legal terms.”
Barker is not spending enough time with Meek to truly investigate the case, Meek said.”No one with a serious charge can put up a proper defense in the limited time I have received from the public defender’s office,” Meek said.Barker refused to comment, citing client-attorney privacy, but several motions have been filed by Barker in the case, court records show.Meek said he has tried to contact other lawyers, but has been unable to secure representation.”I need attorneys to speak with that have a few minutes to look and discuss my case,” Meek said. “I have my savings so I can pay a little for their time.”Far from richMeek grew up in Miller, S.D. where he attended school and was raised Methodist, he said. He served in the Army during the Vietnam War and later worked as a painter, Meek said.
Meek moved to Gypsum from Denver over a year ago and has lived in Edwards since July 2005, he said.Meek gets Social Security benefits and Veteran’s disability payments each month, and maintains a small amount of savings in Colorado State Bank in Denver and Wells Fargo of Edwards, he said.”I am far from being a rich man but I do not need to rob anyone,” Meek said.Meek’s next court date is scheduled for March 22, when he will plead not guilty to the robbery charges, according to court records.Staff Writer J.K. Perry can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14622, or firstname.lastname@example.org.