Crime spree suspect pleads not guilty to 7 charges

By Laura McVicker, Columbian staff writer

Published:

Updated: July 25, 2012, 5:30 PM

 

A former bodybuilder accused of robbing two banks in a two-state crime spree last month pleaded not guilty Wednesday to seven charges.

Brent J. Woodall, 29, of Vancouver was arraigned in Clark County Superior Court on three counts of first-degree robbery, and one count each of first-degree burglary, theft of a motor vehicle, attempt to elude a police vehicle and hit-and-run injury.

Judge Rich Melnick set a tentative trial date for Sept. 17. Woodall remains in the Clark County Jail on $1 million bail.

According to prosecutors, the crime spree began the afternoon of June 20, when Woodall allegedly robbed the Riverview Community Bank in Hazel Dell and fled, triggering a chase that ensued through neighborhoods east of the bank before emerging onto Highway 99, Interstate 5 and then Highway 14.

When authorities lost sight of him, Woodall allegedly robbed a Bank of America on Auto Mall Drive. As he continued to flee police, Woodall hit a vehicle and kept going, police said.

A few minutes later, police said, Woodall tried to carjack a vehicle at a convenience store and then successfully carjacked a Ford Focus from a man near downtown Vancouver and drove south on I-5 into Portland, with officers once again in pursuit.

Woodall was captured by the Portland Police Bureau in the St. Johns area of North Portland after being pinned between a minivan and a police cruiser.

According to court documents, Woodall describes himself as a self-employed personal trainer, but was currently not working. He also reported “a heroin problem,” the documents said.

He lived with his wife in a two-story, 3,550-square-foot house with her three children from a previous marriage. The house had been on the market as a short sale for about a year before the listing expired in September.

Court documents indicate the Woodalls owe $350,000 on the home, which is estimated to be worth $320,000.

Woodall’s wife, Aimee, is seeking a divorce and restraining order against him. She said in court papers that her husband has a “recent history of mental health issues.”