The next scheduled court appearance is this Thursday for the man accused of robbing a Washington convenience store last week.
John E. Huggins Jr., 24, St. Clair, was arraigned Monday in Franklin County associate circuit court on multiple charges related to the Thursday, Sept. 13, armed robbery of the Fas-Trip convenience store at the corner of Highway 47 and East Fifth Street.
Huggins remained in the county jail during the video arraignment before Judge Stanley Williams who explained the charges and the defendant’s rights and listed the range of punishment for the crimes. Judge Williams then continued the case to 8:30 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 20, according to online court documents.
Huggins is expected to be defended by the public defender’s office.
The man was arrested by Washington police officers minutes after the 1 a.m holdup.
Huggins remains in the county jail on a $50,000 cash-only bond. He is charged in a felony complaint with one count each of first-degree robbery, armed criminal action, theft of a handgun and resisting arrest.
Police said a man entered the Fas-Trip convenience store at the corner of Highway 47 and East Fifth Street shortly after 12:30 a.m. Thursday, struck up a conversation with the clerk and remained in the store about 20 minutes. At one point he told the clerk he was an undercover cop and asked what he (the clerk) would do if this was a robbery, according to a probable cause statement filed in court.
The man then lifted his shirt and displayed a chrome-plated revolver in his waistband, police said, and demanded a pack of cigarettes and some liquor. The clerk gave the man the pack of cigarettes then the suspect picked up a half-gallon bottle of Jim Beam whiskey and ran out of the store.
Police officers were in the area and converged on the store when they were alerted to the holdup
A witness saw the man, later identified as Huggins, running toward the Mercy Hospital parking lot, then Patrolman Greg Walters saw the fleeing suspect and ran after him.
The man sustained some scrapes and bruises when he fell over a concrete retaining wall on the Third Street side of the hospital, police said, then he continued running but soon tired and was taken into custody.
A small revolver was found a few feet from the suspect and police recovered the cigarettes and liquor taken from the store.
Huggins initially told police that another man forced him at gunpoint to rob the convenience store, but during questioning he later admitted that was not true, police said.
Detective Sgt. Brad Erisman said police learned that Huggins had been visiting a man who lived near the convenience store prior to the robbery and he allegedly took the revolver from that home to use in the holdup.
Police have obtained a store surveillance video of the holdup, Erisman said.
Huggins pleaded guilty earlier this year to a second-degree domestic assault charge and is on five years’ probation in that felony case which stemmed from a September 2011 incident, according to online court records.
The man also has several felony charges pending in circuit court. In July he was charged with stealing, second-degree burglary, tampering with a motor vehicle and possession of burglar tools, all felonies, plus a misdemeanor stealing count, according to online records.