Questions surround release of Uptown robbery suspect

Published: Jan. 25, 2016 at 10:08 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 25, 2016 at 11:06 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Nicholas Spiller is one of four suspects indicted in a string of Uptown restaurant and bar robberies. All of the high-profile crimes happened with customers inside, and patrons were ordered to get on the floor and hand over their belongings.

The indictment alleges that Spiller committed two of them - the Atchafalaya, robbed on Sept. 24, and Monkey Hill Bar, robbed on Sept. 28.

Before Spiller was developed as a suspect, police arrested him Dec. 11, 2015, for burglary at the Forest Isle Apartment complex in Algiers and for possession of marijuana. That same day, he went before Magistrate Judge Harry Cantrell, who set Spiller's bond at $10,000.

Spiller, however, was released from jail the same night without paying a dime.

FOX 8 obtained the court documents that show at 10:02 p.m., Judge Ben Willard of Section C ordered Spiller's release on an ROR, meaning released on his own recognizance.

One month later, police developed Spiller as a suspect in the restaurant and bar robberies. He, along with three others, was indicted last week and turned himself in to police. Spiller is facing two counts of armed robbery and one count of conspiracy to commit armed robbery. He's being held on a $5,750,000 bond.

It's unclear why Judge Willard got involved in the case to release Spiller, since the magistrate judge had already set his bond. FOX 8 reached out to Willard for a comment, but he did not offer a response to our story.

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