Crime & Courts

Why the Forest Acres bank robbery suspect wasn’t at her bond hearing Thursday

A suspect in this week’s armed robbery of a Forest Acres bank chose to await trial in jail.

Daisy Esther Feliberty on Thursday waived her right to her first court appearance and her right to bond, meaning she will most likely stay in the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center until her case is tried.

The 35-year-old Kissimmee, Florida, woman was one of two suspects involved in Tuesday’s armed robbery of the S.C. Federal Credit Union on Forest Drive, according to Forest Acres Police Chief Marion Sealy.

Before an afternoon hearing, Feliberty chose to remain in lockup instead of appearing before Judge Eleanor Cleary.

Deputy Solicitor Dan Goldberg of the 5th Circuit Solicitor’s Office was in bond court to represent the prosecution against Feliberty and accepted the public defender’s waiver of bond.

Sealy showed up at the bond hearing and said after that he wasn’t surprised she waived her bond.

“I’m here to support the victims and the solicitor’s office,” Sealy said.

A pair of bank workers also showed up for the hearing.

Feliberty is charged with armed robbery, six counts of kidnapping for holding the bank employees against their will, as well as possession of a deadly weapon in the commission of a violent crime and possession of a stolen handgun, Forest Acres Police said in a news release.

On Tuesday around 10 a.m., police got an emergency signal from the credit union. As officers arrived, Feliberty and her accomplice, Samuel Neathery, tried to leave the bank parking lot but crashed their gold Toyota sedan when an officer fired at the vehicle, according to police. Feliberty was shot twice, according to Sealy. She caused four other cars to crash on Forest Drive, leaving engine and vehicle parts strewn on the road.

Feliberty was taken to an area hospital to treat the gunshot wound and injuries sustained in the crash, according to Sealy. She was released on Wednesday and taken to the Richland jail.

She’s spent time in prison before.

In 2009, Feliberty was charged with selling marijuana and cocaine in Osceola County, Florida, according to the Florida Department of Corrections. She began a one-year sentence for the crimes in 2010, getting out of prison in May 2011.

Feliberty and Neathery both lived in a town south of Orlando about 12 miles from Disney World, according to a background check and public records. They lived a little more than five minutes from each other.

Daisy Esther Feliberty.jpeg
Daisy Esther Feliberty circa 2010. Courtesy Florida Department of Corrections.

Sealy said he did not know if the two suspects were married or in a relationship. “They became acquainted in Florida,” he said.

After the car crash on Tuesday, Neathery went back back into the bank and escaped out a back door. Police initially believed Neathery was holding hostages after he returned to the bank, but determined later that wasn’t true.

The Tuesday search for Neathery in residential parts of Forest Acres included a plane, helicopter, multiple officers and search dogs.

The search is ongoing for Neathery, who “is or was in the Charleston area” on Wednesday morning, SLED spokesman Thom Berry told The State. Sealy had no update on Neathery’s whereabouts.

The Florida man also has a history of crime.

In 2008, Neathery was charged with armed robbery in Polk County, according to Florida Department of Corrections records. In 2009, he was convicted of the felony and sent to jail for 10 years. Neathery got out of a Florida state prison in May 2018, a background check shows.

The 29-year-old Neathery is considered armed and dangerous and was described by Forest Acres Police as a 5-foot-8, 170-pound white male with a goatee.

In bond court, Cleary announced that Feliberty could request bond at a later date if she wanted.

Despite one person being in jail and another being identified, the investigation is ongoing in Forest Acres, Sealy said. Evidence is being logged and Forest Acres police are still working with the State Law Enforcement Division.

“There’s still a lot of loose ends to tie,” Sealy said.

Anyone with information is asked to call the police department at 803-782-9444 or Crimestoppers at 888-CRIME-SC or submit an online tip.

Staff writers Noah Feit and Teddy Kumala contributed to this story.

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David Travis Bland won the South Carolina Press Association’s 2017 Judson Chapman Award for community journalism. As The State’s crime, police and public safety reporter, he strives to inform communities about crimes that affect them and give deeper insight into victims, the accused and law enforcement. He studied history with a focus on the American South at the University of South Carolina.