Considering that the money Christopher Jeburk already has paid attorneys and that the $86,000 he got in an Augusta bank heist is still missing, U.S. District Judge Dudley H. Bowen Jr. has ruled Mr. Jeburk could pay for his own trial transcript.
Judge Bowen ruled against a motion seeking an informal pauper status for Mr. Jeburk on Wednesday, his 21st birthday.
Mr. Jeburk was convicted last February of a series of federal crimes for masterminding an Oct. 13, 1995, bank robbery in which a teller's family was held hostage.
Before he could be sentenced for those crimes, however, Mr. Jeburk escaped twice from Columbia County Detention Center - on March 27 and, after his May 9 recapture, again on June 23 for five days.
The $86,270 stolen from Bankers First Savings Bank at 3131 Washington Road was never recovered.
In July, Judge Bowen sentenced Mr. Jeburk to life in prison without parole.
On Wednesday, attorney Doug Flanagan asked Judge Bowen to rule that Mr. Jeburk was informally a pauper. Although Mr. Jeburk's family paid Mr. Flanagan last February to appeal Mr. Jeburk's conviction, there wasn't enough money for such out-of-pocket expenses such as a trial transcript, estimated to cost $3,000 to $3,500, Mr. Flanagan said.
"There's certain to be a lot of questions in people's minds about what happened to the majority of that (bank robbery) money," Judge Bowen said.
The judge said he was basing his decision not only on the missing bank money but also on the legal fees Mr. Jeburk and his family have paid his attorneys, Mr. Flanagan and Jack Boone.
The determination of a defendant's pauper status is largely left to the discretion of the trial judge, Judge Bowen noted.
He said he believed the attorneys' fees - amounts he learned about Wednesday in private conversations with Mr. Jeburk's two attorneys - weren't extraordinary but were sufficient to pay for Mr. Jeburk's appeal expenses.