EUGENE, Ore. (AP) -- A crab boat deckhand who appeared on the "Deadliest Catch" reality show pleaded guilty Wednesday to three bank robbery charges in Eugene and was sentenced to nine years in prison.

The shackled 23-year-old Joshua Tell Warner of Oakridge apologized to tellers who attended the hearing in Lane County Circuit Court.

The Register-Guard reports Warner robbed a Eugene bank in October 2007 before he joined the crew of the Wizard and robbed two other banks last year after his stint in Alaska.

Warner's lawyer, John Kolego, says it was his appearance on TV that led to his arrest. Viewers who recognized Warner as a suspect in the bank robberies called police last fall, and a warrant was issued. He was arrested in a traffic stop in East Peoria, Ill.

Kolego said Warner was strung out on the pain medication OxyContin during the robberies, and that his client suffered a rough upbringing as the son of an alcoholic.

"It's a tragedy what he's done to the tellers, and it's a tragedy what he's done to his own life," Kolego said at the hearing.

Lane County Deputy District Attorney Chris Parosa read two letters written by tellers who recounted how Warner passed them notes during robberies that warned they'd be killed if they didn't promptly give him cash.

In his apology Warner said, "I know there's no reason that justifies a threat on a person's life for money. No person deserves such distress."

Warner initially faced up to 30 years in prison in the case. He agreed to plead guilty to the robberies in exchange for a reduced term.

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Information from: The Register-Guard, http://www.registerguard.com

Copyright 2010 The AP.

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