Alleged robbers waive preliminary examination rights
Flint resident Chelsi Howard gets ushered back to jail after the conclusion of a pretrial hearing at 54B District Court on Tuesday morning, July 31, 2012. Howard is facing charges for armed robbery at the Admiral Gas Station on East Grand River Avenue. Natalie Kolb/The State News
Two women allegedly involved in the robbery of a high-traffic East Lansing gas station waived their rights to preliminary examinations today during separate pretrials at 54B District Court, 101 Linden St.
Chrystal Atkins and Chelsi Howard are facing armed robbery charges for the June robbery of Admiral Gas Station, 1120 E. Grand River Ave. Both women are 23 years old and are residents of Flint, Mich.
According to the East Lansing Police Department, the women robbed the gas station armed with a knife and sprayed the station clerk with Mace at about 4:33 a.m. June 24.
Both defense attorneys chose not to conduct preliminary examinations, which usually give the prosecution a chance to prove the defendant has committed a crime.
Atkins’ grandmother, Tena Hoig, accompanied her granddaughter, who had previously posted part of her $15,000 bond and was allowed to return home with her family.
Flint resident Chrystal Atkins looks at her attorney Duane Silverthorn during a pretrial hearing at the 54B District Court on Tuesday morning, July 31, 2012. Atkins is facing charges for armed robbery at the Admiral Gas Station on East Grand River Avenue. Natalie Kolb/The State News
Hoig said her granddaughter was having trouble dealing with the stress from the case. She also said Atkins normally had a group of respectable friends, but failed to properly assess Howard’s character.
When Atkins’ defense attorney, Duane Silverthorn, approached the stand before Judge David Jordan, he presented documents illustrating Atkins has a number of mental complications, such as paranoia and bipolar disorder.
During Howard’s pretrial, her attorney, Gene Turnwald, told Jordan his client recognizes she has a substance abuse problem and requested treatment before going to jail. Howard does not have access to treatment while she is being held in Ingham County Jail without bond.
Turnwald said because preliminary examinations were waived, no action will happen on the case for about a month, but it will be transferred to circuit court.
“What we intend to accomplish is simply to enter a plea agreement up in circuit court,” Turnwald said.