Trice sentences Central Coast Bandit
April 3, 2015
San Luis Obispo Superior Court Judge John Trice doled out a 16-year prison sentence on Thursday to Cristina Fernandez Padilla, a Watsonville woman better known as the Central Coast Bandit.
Padilla robbed six banks in three counties over an eight-month span that began on New Year’s Eve in 2012. She is expected to receive a total of 20 years in prison after she likely receives a pair of two-year sentences in Monterey and Stanislaus counties.
The 50-year-old woman said following her capture that she robbed banks in order to buy food and clothing for her 11-year-old daughter. Despite confessing to doing so in a jailhouse interview, Padilla pleaded not guilty to numerous charges.
But, in January, the district attorney’s office announced that it had reached a plea agreement. Padilla copped to four counts of robbery and one count each of attempted robbery, second-degree commercial burglary, evading a peace officer and assault with a deadly weapon.
The assault with a deadly weapon charge stemmed from a police chase on August 23, 2013. After an employee of a San Luis Obispo Golden 1 Credit Union recognized Padilla, the bank robber led officers on a chase from San Luis Obispo to Paso Robles, where she ultimately crashed her car.
When Padilla goes to prison, good behavior will not relieve her of much of her sentence. Since she has been convicted of violent strikes, her conduct credits will be limited to 15 percent, according to a district attorney’s office news release.