Ex-cop Timothy Carson sentenced in Apple Valley bank robbery

Timothy Carson, an Iraq war veteran and a former Minneapolis cop, left no doubt in anyone's mind yesterday that he was guilty as charged in an Apple Valley bank robbery last winter -- and sorry. The judge made it clear at the sentencing that Carson was mentally ill, and needed to stay away from a "toxic" and "manipulative" wife.

"I terrorized innocent people in a cowardly manner," Carson said in court, "and let down and abandoned those who love and depend on me the most."

Carson was arrested in January after he reported for work an hour late at the 3rd Precinct. He eventually admitted to as many as 13 robberies around the Twin Cities, and pleaded guilty to the armed bank robbery charge in March. As the case progressed, it was clear the ex-Marine, who had served in Ramadi in 2004, was a troubled man, behind on mortgage payments and distraught over family life, including a sick child.

And then there was the matter of his wife. The Pioneer Press reported he'd met her after returning from Iraq. At various times she lied to him about being drugged and raped, about contracting and battling cancer, and about their daughter being raped. Carson never realized any of this until after his arrest. She has since been voluntarily hospitalized.

"It is clear that Mr. Carson's brief crime spree was completely out of character for him," [U.S. District Judge Patrick] said. "It is also clear that Mr. Carson's brief crime spree was the result of mental illness."

Schiltz urged Carson to distance himself from the "toxic relationship" with his wife, whom the judge described as "pathologically manipulative and dishonest."

Three Marines with whom he served in Iraq, his stepfather and his pastor were called as character witnesses; all called for leniency.

The judge sent him away for eight years.

Minneapolis Police Chief Tim Dolan told the Star Tribune, "Officer Carson's actions hurt many, including his victims, family and those of us who wear a badge. ... I hope that Tim Carson can get the help he needs to become a productive citizen."

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