A Lafayette man accused of calling in a bomb threat to occupy authorities before he tried to rob a nearby bank last summer admitted to the crime in hand-written letters to the assistant U.S. Attorney and federal judge overseeing the case, despite pleading not guilty several months earlier.
The threat forced the evacuation of 5,500 students from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette on July 16 as more than 200 law enforcement officers and investigators searched the campus and a nearby park for an explosive device.
In a letter dated Feb. 20, Devin Haywood, 30, of Lafayette, wrote U.S. District Court Judge Richard T. Haik, saying he did not want the case to go to trial because he didn’t want to waste anyone’s time.
“It has never been my idea or plan to force the United States to take my case to trial for a crime I have fully admitted to,” Haywood wrote.
Haywood is set to go to trial on April 6 on federal charges of conveying false information regarding an explosive device and attempted bank robbery by force or violence.
He is accused of calling KATC-TV early on July 16, saying a bomb was in a trash can at a park next to UL-Lafayette. The package found in the trash can turned out to be a fake bomb.
After calling in the threat, Haywood tried to rob the MidSouth Bank on Moss Street in Lafayette before it opened, police say. But about 7:30 a.m., according to police, employees in a vehicle on bank property noticed someone hiding near the building and drove off as Haywood ran after them, pointing a gun.
“Your honor, I was a desperate man faced with some extreme desperate measures,” Haywood wrote to Haik. “I needed money badly, but when I planned this I did in a way to try and make sure nobody was hurt. I used a toy gun during the offense and I set up the diversion to make sure that nobody would get caught in any stand-off with any responding officers.”
A federal grand jury indicted Haywood on the charges on Aug. 8 and he pleaded not guilty in federal court eight days later.
Haywood said in the letters that he wrote them because he felt that his federal public defender was not acting in his best interest and was “trying to force me into an unwinnable trial.”
Haywood’s attorney, Taylor Blanchard, said he would not comment on the letters when contacted Wednesday.
Haywood filed a motion to remove Blanchard as his defense attorney, but Haik did not grant the motion.
“I feel like my lawyer has no interest in defending me at all,” Haywood wrote.
In his letter to Assistant U.S. Attorney Luke Walker, Haywood asks the prosecutor why he is pushing for the maximum sentence in the case.
“All I’m looking for is a reasonable plea offer that takes in my acceptance of responsibility and that lets the guidelines speak out about the time that I’m facing for what I have done,” Haywood wrote.