New arrest warrant issued for man who bank teller said police wrongly arrested for robbery

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DENVER -- An arrest warrant was issued for Steve Talley Thursday afternoon. Investigators said the warrant accuses him of trying to influence a public servant.

His attorney, Benjamin Hartford told FOX31 Denver he believes it's retaliation for a FOX31 Denver story that aired Wednesday about possible missteps in Talley's arrest for a bank robbery in September 2014. You can watch the original story above and read it in the text below.

Original story Wednesday, January 27

Steven Talley said he’s living a nightmare after being arrested not once but twice for the same bank robbery despite the star witness saying he’s not the guy.

A Denver judge released the 45-year-old from jail after the witness stunned prosecutors during a preliminary hearing. U.S. Bank teller Bonita Shipp testified that Steven Talley, the man charged with aggravated robbery, was not the same man who held her up in September 2014.

Talley was arrested in September 2014 for two bank robberies: At a U.S. Bank on Colfax Avenue in May 2014 and at a U.S. Bank on South Colorado Boulevard in September 2014.

In both robberies, a white man wearing a black baseball cap slipped a teller a note demanding money. Despite the surveillance video, it’s impossible to see the suspect’s face above his nose because of the cap.

In the first robbery, the bank’s security guard is seen on video trying to tackle the suspect outside the bank.

The officer loses his grip and the suspect is able to escape on foot. An FBI task force arrested Talley after his ex-wife identified him from the surveillance video of both bank robberies.

“Basically told me I was being arrested for two armed bank robberies and assaulting a police officer, during a bank robbery and I just said flat out, you guys got the wrong guy, you're crazy,” Talley said.

Talley said he was beaten by members of the Denver SWAT team during his arrest. He said one officer swung a baton at his groin.

“I have what’s called a fractured penis. I didn’t even think you could break a penis," he said.

Talley spent two months in jail until his defense attorney produced an alibi for the first bank robbery. At the time of the robbery, Talley was at his work desk selling financial investments for Transamerica based on time-stamp recorded phone calls.

Prosecutors dismissed both cases but afterward Talley said he got in a heated phone conversation with Denver Police Det. Jeffrey Hart, who originally had Talley arrested.

“I’m going to throw your a** back in jail, we’re going to refile,” is the threat Talley accused Hart of making.

In December 2015, Talley was rearrested for the second bank robbery. He was living at a homeless shelter at the time after he said he lost everything because of the first arrest.

“Had a family, had a career and the worst part is I haven't seen my kids in like 17 months," Talley said.

This time, Denver prosecutors said FBI facial recognition technology proved Talley was the man seen in the surveillance video of the second bank robbery.

But at a preliminary hearing, his defense attorney pointed out Talley has a mole on his right check, something not seen on the bank robbery suspect in the surveillance video.

"If they can miss a mole on a guy's face, I don't know how anyone can rely on this facial recognition technology,” defense attorney Benjamin Hartford said.

In addition, Hartford introduced a witness from a church food bank.

Deborah Hicks testified that her sign-up sheet showed Talley had checked in on the morning of the bank robbery, though she couldn’t say he was definitively at the church at the time of the robbery.

Bonita Shipp proved to be a more important witness. She’s the bank teller who was robbed on Sept. 5, 2014. Shipp testified that Talley was not the man who held her up.

“It was a surreal moment. I mean it felt good when she said that. I figured at that moment they were just going to dismiss it because they didn't have a case. It was ridiculous," Talley said.

The judge did not dismiss the case but he did order Talley released on a personal recognizance bond, which allows a defendant to be freed without spending a dime in bond money. Up to that point, Talley was being held on a $50,000 bond.

The judge said he was changing the bond conditions because he considered it “unlikely” that prosecutors could convict Talley at trial.

In a statement to the FOX31 Problem Solvers, the Denver District Attorney’s Office said: "The testimony at the preliminary was a surprise to the prosecutor, Deputy District Attorney Johanna Coats. She will now have to assess the case in light of our burden of proof, and a decision will be made in a timely manner about whether to proceed or not.”

Hartford said it should be an easy decision.

“Dismiss the case. They got the wrong guy, not once but twice," he said.

Talley and his attorney believe the second arrest was an act of retaliation engineered by Hart. After Talley’s first arrest, Hart was given a disciplinary letter in his file after Internal Affairs found he didn’t properly apply photo lineup procedures during the investigations.

Talley is due back in court Thursday, when he hopes prosecutors will dismiss the second robbery case.

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