Admitted methamphetamine addict John Eddie Albritton, 43, of Sylacauga got more than he bargained for in a stolen 700-horsepower Dodge Charger Hellcat.
Albritton was arrested in April and charged with theft and burglary of the car capable of 0-60 mph times in under four seconds. Investigators say Albritton was at the wheel but Albritton said otherwise in his preliminary hearing Wednesday before Tallapoosa County District Court Judge Kim Taylor, pointing the finger to fellow meth addicts who wanted the addictive drug. He said two friends showed up at a house on Airport Road.
“They came up and said, ‘Let’s get high,’” Albritton said. “I said, ‘Let’s ride.’”
Albritton said the white male and female were already in possession of the Hellcat when got in the back seat and admitted he had three to four meth-filled syringes and cigarettes with him. From there he said they went for a ride before Coosa County deputies caught them speeding on U.S. Highway 280 at Hatchett Creek. Albritton said his friend’s driving scared him.
Albritton said he pushed the seat forward to get out of the two-door car in Sylacauga.
“I got out of the car and ran,” Albritton said. “We were all strung out on meth.”
Albritton admitted to having been up three days when he left Airport Road in the car and his cigarette of choice is Marlboro Light.
Alexander City Police detective Sabrina Osborne testified she collected video evidence at the home garage where the car was kept. She said the video showed a white male and female going through the garage trying to steal the Hellcat and one other car while wearing caps pulled down. Osborne said a BOLO (be on the look out) was issued for the car and the Coosa County Sheriff’s Office responded because it chased the car the night before. She said the car was recovered in Sylacauga with blue jeans containing cigarette butts with Albritton’s DNA and a single meth-filled syringe. She also stated she collected fingerprints at the garage where the car was stolen but matching results are not back from the lab.
Albritton said he injured himself while running from the car the night it was stolen and was on meth when Osborne arrested him.
“I was so high when they got me,” Albritton said. “I had been up six, seven, eight days.”
Taylor bound the case over to the grand jury.
Robbery case headed to grand jury
Cleophus Johnson, 23, of Alexander City heard evidence against him in a first-degree robbery charge where is alleged to have taken about $3,900 from an Alexander City store at gunpoint.
The clerk who was working at the store at the time testified in a preliminary hearing Wednesday.
“I was working,” the clerk said. “A guy came in with a gun and said, ‘Put your hands up.’”
The store owner and clerk said the reason for that much cash to be on hand was to pay for deliveries from vendors the next day.
“He probably knew where the money was,” the clerk said.
The clerk did not get a clear look at the suspect but gave a description of the clothing he was wearing.
“I saw a gun and was scared,” the clerk said. “He covered his face and wore gloves.”
Alexander City Police investigator Drew Machen said he was called to the scene to investigate the incident in September 2018. Machen said law enforcement acquired video from the store and the business next door where the robbery suspect was seen getting in and out of a white GMC Envoy with a busted rear window wearing clothing similar to what the clerk described.
Machen said officers patrolling the area just after the robbery discovered clothing along North Central Avenue and Lafayette Street fitting the description of the suspect.
Machen said the clothing was sent for DNA testing at the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences and the results of a DNA sample on the mask the suspect was wearing matched four males, but only Johnson’s DNA was in the system.
Machen said the owner of the vehicle pointed police to Johnson and two others in the vehicle. Machen said the owner pointed them to where Johnson was staying that night in a local hotel where about $1,500 wrapped in similar rubber bands to what the store uses.
Taylor found sufficient evidence to send the case to grand jury.
Hunter pleads guilty to illegal hydrocodone possession
Jimmy Hunter, 54, of Goodwater was sentenced to 60 months in prison after agreeing to plead guilty to possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, two counts of possession of a controlled substance and illegal possession of prescription drugs.
Hunter told Taylor he was in possession of hydrocodone and a prescription that was not his at the time of his arrest.
Taylor had previously pleaded guilty in March 2018 to felony possession of marijuana.
Rape case headed to grand jury
Semajay M. Holley, 19, of Millbrook waived a prelimary hearing for his first-degree rape charge. Holley’s case is headed to the grand jury and he is currently free on bond.
Thomas Grant, 19, of Wetumpka was scheduled for a preliminary hearing for his charge of aggravated cruelty to animals involving the death of a duck from the Central Alabama Community College pond. Grant’s attorney Mitch Gavin waived the hearing. The next step is for it to be presented to a grand jury. Aggravated cruelty to animals is a Class C felony and if found guilty, Grant would face a prison sentence of one to 10 years. He is currently free on bond.
River Bridge hit-and-run death case heads to grand jury
Robert Lancaster, 34, of Jacksons Gap is charged with manslaughter in the death of Tina Doranne Guerrero. He waived a scheduled preliminary hearing Wednesday. His case is headed to grand jury.
Guerrero, 50, was struck while outside of her stopped vehicle on the River Bridge in the early morning hours of Nov. 29, 2018. She was found by a witness who drove up on the scene and called 911.
Lancaster is currently free on bond.