Robbery suspect's first appearance halted by hospital visit

Robbery suspect's first appearance halted by hospital visit

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - The first appearance for 26-year-old Eric Newell was abruptly postponed Monday after he had to be taken to the hospital for what officials called detoxification.

Lee County Sheriff's Office Chief Lewis Harris said the nurse at the jail felt the need to have Newell taken to the hospital for observation, and that his life was not at risk.

Surveillance video showed Newell robbing the CVS pharmacy on U.S. Highway 19 South Friday night. He later confessed to the crime.

In the video, Newell handed the pharmacist a note. He initially demanded pills, but the pharmacist said he didn't have any.

"He also told him, 'if you don't give me all the money out of the cash register, I'll shoot you.' So he gave him all the money out of the cash register," Chief Harris explained.

Newell never flashed a gun, but had his right hand in his pocket during the incident.

Lee County deputies arrested him at his grandmothers house Saturday morning, but haven't recovered a gun or any money.

Newell is also suspected of a similar attempted robbery just one day before, on Christmas.

Dougherty County Police said it was Newell who tried to rob the Kangaroo Express on South Mock Road.

"The clerk did refuse to give him the money and Mr. Newell told the clerk that his kids were behind the store with another subject in a vehicle, and that if he did not rob the store, his kids were going to die. He also told the clerk he placed a bomb underneath the clerks vehicle," said Lt. Chad Kirkpatrick with Dougherty County Police.

In the video, the clerk even helped another customer as Newell stood there before running off empty-handed.

The Lee County Sheriff's Office and Dougherty County Police worked together in the case.

Newell is charged with terroristic threats and criminal attempt robbery by intimidation.

He also faces an armed robbery charge for the incident at CVS Pharmacy.

A WALB News 10 investigation later showed Newell's criminal history is extensive in both Lee and Dougherty Counties.

He has been arrested for various charges 16 times in Lee County.

Newell also has two active cases against him in Dougherty County.

He's accused of robbing the Rite Aid in Albany on North Slappey in June of 2012.

Authorities say he also stole a grass trimmer and saw and pawned them for money in September of 2013.

He faces charges of theft by deception and theft by receiving stolen property...both misdemeanors.

Newell's first appearance was rescheduled for Tuesday afternoon.

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