Bond set at $20,500 for flag burning suspect
SOCASTEE, S.C. (WCIV/WPDE) -- Bond was set Tuesday morning for the 17-year-old accused of burning American flags at St. James High School on Monday.
Nick Newell as charged with arson, having weapons on school, disturbing school, malicious damage to property and petit larceny. Bond was set at $20,500 for the charges. The petit larceny charge he faces is in connection to the theft of the American flags from his neighborhood in the Indigo Creek Subdivision last month.
If Newell is released on bond, he is required to wear a GPS monitoring ankle bracelet and is not allowed on school property.
In the hearing, Newell's lawyer Regina Ward said that Newell had been going through a lot of stress leading up to the event. She also stated that more of the truth will come out once the case goes to trial.
"Part of the reason that we are upset about these types of things is our patriotic spirit and so forth, and we need to remember what America's also about. It's also one of the finest justice systems in the world and we believe that the justice system will do the right thing here," Ward said.
Some of Newell's family members were at the jail watching the hearing on closed-circuit television but declined to be interviewed.
Horry County police spokesperson Lt. Robert Kegler said on the surveillance video, police saw the suspect barricade the other side of the building before burning the flags at the front entrance, which is what caused police to lockdown and then evacuate the school.
He added that the suspect was also seen on surveillance video carrying a pistol and what appeared to be a machete on his hip. He said the pistol was later determined to be an air pistol.
He's accused of burning several American flags about 2 a.m. Monday morning at the entrance to St. James High School, which is Newell's home school and where he attended for the last two years.
The flags were discovered when security arrived for the school day at 6:20 a.m.
The school was locked down at 8:30 a.m. as a precaution and then evacuated. The students were taken to St. James Middle School where they were released to their parents after a lengthy checkout procedure.
Newell was arrested around 1 p.m. Monday at his home on Indigo Creek Boulevard in Horry County.
Newell is a student at Horry County's Academy for the Arts, Science, and Technology.