Ahmad Shalash: Wife testifies against husband in bank robbery trial

CINCINNATI - A star witness in a serial bank robbing trial Wednesday was the wife of one of the accused robbers.

Three people are accused of robbing four banks last year to get money to buy pills and heroin.
    
Two of them took the stand Wednesday to testify against the third.

As Ahmad Shalash listened quietly, Jennifer Neitz Shalash testified that he was the driver of the white getaway van used in the four robberies.
   
She was caught on camera inside the banks as they were being robbed. They included a Fifth Third branch in Cheviot, Emery Federal Credit Union, Cheviot Savings Bank and the First Financial in Deer Park.

Defense attorney Justin Bartlett had her read parts of the 200 letters she wrote her husband in jail and got her to admit her stories changed.

Bartlett: "You know nothing.”
Neitz Shalash: “Uh-huh.”
Bartlett: “What you're meaning is he knows nothing about these bank robberies. Correct?” 
Neitz Shalash: “Correct.” 
Bartlett: “Now your testimony has changed. Now you’re saying he was the driver involved in these bank robberies. Correct?”
Neitz Shalash: “Correct."

Assistant Prosecutor Gus Leon wasn't buying it and asked Nietz Shalash to tell jurors what she was really trying to say in those letters.   

Neitz Shalash: "He was my husband, the father of my children.  And I said if he will go home, I will sit in jail for however many years.”
Leon: “You were trying to mollify for him -- to cover up your betrayal?” 
Neitz Shalash:  “In a way."

The prosecution's final witness was Jake Phalz, who said he actually committed the robberies.
  
He detailed how they were planned.

Prosecutor: "After the decision was made to go in, did you all decide to play a certain role?” 
Phalz: “Yeah.” 
Prosecutor: "What were those roles individually?”
Phalz: “I was going to go in.  Neitz was going in first to tell me what it was and Ahmad drove. He sat there and waited while she went in and I went in."

Closing arguments are slated for Thursday morning, then the case will go to the jury.
     
 

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