Friday, October 5, 2012

Korean War vet gets 30 days in jail for junk

Clover Korean War vet gets 30 days in jail for junk on property

Published: October 4, 2012 Updated 4 hours ago

John Ramsey's mugshot at the Moss Justice Center in York
— Johnny Ramsey, the 79-year-old Korean War veteran who collected and sold junk to pay for medications for his ailing wife, said just minutes before court Thursday evening: “If I have to go to jail, I guess I am ready.”
An hour later, Ramsey left a Clover courtroom in shackles – sentenced to 30 days in the York County jail for not cleaning up his yard eight months after a judge ordered him to get rid of the junk.
Clover Town Judge Melvin Howell ruled after a contempt of court hearing Thursday that Ramsey had refused to comply with court orders to both clean up his property and pay a fine for contempt.
The sentence will be served on weekends, but it started immediately after court was finished Thursday night.
Clover Police officers handcuffed Ramsey – whose nephew is a sheriff’s deputy, whose son is in Afghanistan on his fourth deployment to war – and walked him outside the court building and put him in a police car.
Then a burly officer thumped on the trunk, and the police took Clover’s junk man to jail.
Ramsey will get out of jail late Sunday night.
He will be out all next week with a chance to clean up the junk and not go back next weekend.
Ramsey said nothing as he walked out of the building. He just held up his handcuffed hands after surrendering his wallet and cigarettes.
After court, Ramsey’s wife, who walks with a cane and requires several medications for illnesses, said “it is just not true” that Ramsey did not try to clean up the property.
“He did try, four or five loads of stuff went out of here,” Patty Ramsey said. “That was a lie. I’m mad.”
On Wednesday, a church group from Rock Hill put up a privacy fence around some of the property after reading in The Herald about Ramsey’s fight with the town. Judge Howell saw pictures of that fence Thursday, but it was too little and too late.
The case against Ramsey – following coverage in The Herald since his trial in January – brought support for Ramsey from all over the country.
Enough donations came in to pay the $500 fine handed down by Howell after he was found in contempt in August for not cleaning up the property to the town’s satisfaction.
“There’s a man sittin’ right yonder with the $500,” Ramsey told Howell Thursday after he had been sentenced to 30 days in jail, but Howell was not swayed.
“If you had just worked with this court sir,” Howell said, then he was cut off by Ramsey.
“I did, sir...”
Howell, a York County magistrate, then cut Ramsey off.
“No; I have to do what I have to do.”
And Ramsey was taken to jail.
Ramsey, a former member of the Ku Klux Klan, once was convicted of burning a cross on the front lawn of the former police chief in York. He served time in prison before the conviction was overturned on appeal.
He has since maintained he took the fall for two other guys.
Ramsey and his wife live in a mobile home on Social Security and veterans benefits that total less than $900 a month. He had sold junk for most of the 20 years he has lived in Clover to keep the lights on, water running and pay for his wife’s medications.
He has claimed that the town was out to get him. Court testimony showed no neighbors ever complained – but a town code enforcement officer did. His trial lawyer in January called the town’s code enforcement “rogue.”
Before court Thursday, he told officers working security: “I got no problem with the ‘po-lice.’ It’s just the code enforcement man.”
“All we ever wanted was for him to clean up his property,” said Joe Funderburk, Clover’s code enforcement officer, after Ramsey was taken to jail. “It is sad that it had to come to this today.”
Ramsey’s court-appointed public defender, Toni Johnson, told the judge that many people had tried to help Ramsey, and that “a lot of work has been done to clean up the area.”
But Johnson said she “understood that Mr. Ramsey has not complied to the satisfaction of the court.”
Johnson asked Howell to accept the $500 fine rather than give jail time, or have Ramsey serve house arrest if he had to be detained.
“I ask for the mercy of the court,” Johnson said.
During the hearing, which lasted more than half an hour, Howell had police officers put up on a wall screen a timeline of events that led to Ramsey’s being in court Thursday.
The town advised Ramsey in February 2011 that the junk was a violation. Ramsey was cited four months later after not replying to a letter stating he was in violation of town law.
Ramsey asked for a jury trial and was found guilty in January. It was then that Howell gave Ramsey six months to clean up the property or face 30 days in jail.
“I gave you six long months, I waited patiently,” Howell said.
Howell ruled in August that Ramsey had not cleaned up his property, found him in contempt of court and gave him two weeks to pay the $500 fine or face jail time.
The town even offered to haul off the junk if it was carted to the curb, Howell said.
“I don’t want to send anybody to jail, but I do like people to follow orders,” Howell said. “All I wanted to see was that you were working diligently to clean up the mess. Again, I tried to keep you out of jail.”
Howell told Ramsey in court Thursday that he saw a recent television interview in which Ramsey said he would refuse to pay the fine – even if he had $500 or $20,000.
Ramsey, who has been the most honest defendant in the history of courtrooms, spoke right up in court Thursday and said, “Yes, I did say that.”
Up there on the wall screen at that point was the timeline that said, “10/4/12: Court appearance for Mr. Ramsey. To date no attempt has been made to comply with any orders.”
Howell made it clear in court that any other defendant who does not comply with a court order goes to jail.
The judge took the time to say that he realized that Ramsey takes care of his wife, that he knows how difficult it is to live on a fixed income, and that he respected Ramsey for his military service.
“I respect you right now, Mr. Ramsey,” Howell said.
Ramsey replied: “I got the five hunnert dollars.”
Howell responded in similar vernacular from the bench: “I gotta do what I gotta do.”
Ramsey, before court, had put his medications for chronic headaches in a plastic bag in his wife’s purse. His wife had the car keys in case she had to drive home. He had a pack of cigarettes and his wallet and his hope.
He asked for one last kiss from his wife, standing there with a cane.
Howell did what he believed he had to do after explaining for several minutes that Ramsey had refused to follow repeated court orders.
“Thirty days, served on weekends,” Howell said from the bench in a courtroom that was as silent as a church.
Then Johnny Ramsey was taken to jail, and Patty Ramsey went home to an empty mobile home.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Weekly Blotter Report!

Blotter: Tread softly and carry a bunch of tires 

Or, 'Grandma got knocked over by a broomstick'

BLOTTER O' THE WEEK: Someone stole 12 tires from a car dealership service center. The thief had better tread softly.
Car Tattoo o' the Week: A man suspects that his girlfriend is to blame for the word "bitch" and a heart symbol that were scratched in the paint on his SUV.
A plastic surgeon recently discovered that 150 vials of anesthetic were missing from his office — and wouldn't you know it, Nurse Jackie was nowhere to be found.
D'oh! Quote o' the Week: When an officer patted a man down and found a baggie of weed in his pocket, the man said, "Oh, I must have not taken it out of my pocket yet."
Granny Smackdown o' the Week: A woman reportedly picked a fight by hitting another woman with a broom handle. In the resulting melee, the broom bandit enlisted the help of five friends and knocked her opponent's grandmother to the ground.
A loss prevention officer watched as a customer took a battery charger out of its box and stashed it in his pocket, but when the sloppy shoplifter was confronted about it, he claimed he had gotten it for free at another store. The story didn't check out.
Escalation o' the Week: After a man returned home to find his house had been ransacked and some of his jewelry had been stolen, he told police, "It's probably those little kids that were shooting BB guns at my car. They think I have a gun; I told them I would shoot back."
Police pulled a car over with windows that appeared to be tinted beyond the legal limit. When the driver rolled down the window, an officer noticed that the interior reeked of marijuana — and indeed, a drug-sniffing dog later found weed and crack in a Crown Royal bag inside the vehicle. Weird twist to the story: It was a rental car.
After getting in a car accident, a man who smelled like alcohol hopped out of the driver's seat of his vehicle and told a police officer, "I wasn't driving!"
Police stopped a man who was walking down the sidewalk at 3:45 a.m. in his T-shirt and socks — and nothing else. The bare-cheeked brigand explained that he was staying at a downtown hotel and was walking to his girlfriend's house. Because that makes sense.
Bad Plan o' the Week: A panhandler attempted to conceal a beer he was drinking by pouring it into a clear water bottle.
As an officer walked toward a house, he saw a reported drug dealer on the front porch reach into his pocket and then put his hand behind another man sitting beside him. The second man was having none of it, though, and he blurted out, "Man, don't put that shit behind me."
Junk Food Haul o' the Week: A shoplifter crammed a package of gummy snacks, Boston baked beans, two packs of Starburst, two strawberry watermelon candies, one Three Musketeers bar, a pack of Skittles, a pack of Mentos, and a Cheese Danish into his pockets. He was caught before he could eat himself into a diabetic coma.
Weird Threat o' the Week: A woman returned home one night to find that someone had broken the screens off of two laptop computers and left a note on the back of an envelope stating, "This is just a pin drop in an ocean of good shit."
An arrestee arriving at jail shoved something in his mouth, swallowed, and said, "It tastes nasty." He then spat on the ground and vomited. An officer later "found that the spit had dried, leaving a white substance on the ground" that looked an awful lot like crack cocaine. We really don't pay our cops enough money.
The Things They Shoplifted: Two candles, a crocheted shirt, a bag of charcoal, a watch, a can of beer, and a bag of pork cracklin' strips.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Guy plays BraveHeart and kills Dad with a sword.

Man stabs father with sword...


A 22-year-old man is accused of using a sword to fatally stab his father as he slept Monday morning in a Mount Pleasant motel.
Officers found Elias James Walker with blood on his socks and his yellow shirt around 1:30 a.m. at the Fort Moultrie Motel at 1330 Stuart Engals Blvd.
Inside, his father, 45-year-old Anthony Charles Walker, was lying on the floor.
The suspect initially told officers he had left to buy beer when someone must have attacked his father. But he later confessed to the slaying, affidavits state.
Elias Walker has three previous misdemeanor arrests, though police reports indicate he has shown violent tendencies.
Having lived most of his life in Walterboro, Walker told police he had been staying at the Fort Moultrie Motel for a few months.
The motel is up for sale. Edward Robinson, a commercial Realtor for The Beach Co., said the $1.7 million listing has garnered interest from two hotel developers. The motel sits on about 2 acres near Chuck Dawley Boulevard and Bowman Road.
The family who owns the motel leases the land on a month-to-month basis, Robinson said, and can “continue to run their business there until it’s sold.”
“Most likely, someone will tear that down and build a new hotel,” Robinson said. “It’ll be a real nice development for the town.”
Greg Clark, who has owned the nearby Indigo Creek Pet Supplies for 16 years, said the motel doesn’t attract much business. On Monday, only two cars were parked outside as the motel manager, who shooed away a reporter, drowned shrubbery with a water hose.
Dirty blue jeans dried on a fence that closes off the U-shaped building from Chuck Dawley Boulevard.
“I certainly would welcome someone else,” Clark said. “It’s definitely not attracting anybody as far as a hotel.”
Clark said he often sees residents walking behind his store in order to buy goods at the nearby Exxon station.
That’s what Elias Walker said he was doing on the morning his father was killed.
Walker told officers he drank six beers but needed more. So he left Room 21 unlocked and set out on a beer run, according to an incident report from the Mount Pleasant Police Department.
He returned 15 minutes later and found his father suffering from stab wounds to his neck and chest, he told police, so he called the authorities. But Anthony Walker later was pronounced dead at Medical University Hospital.
Investigators found no signs of forced entry. They canvassed three area gas stations that might corroborate the suspect’s alibi and found no surveillance video.
But the officers remarked at Elias Walker’s “unusually calm demeanor considering how severe his father was injured.” He refused to call anyone about what happened, saying he’s “not close to the rest of the family,” the report states.
Walker added his father accumulated many enemies at the motel.
“Everyone in this place hates him,” he told officers.
But he soon admitted to the killing, affidavits state, and he hung his head during a hearing later Monday in which a magistrate denied him bail.
Anthony Walker had a history of arrests dating to the 1980s. At the time of his death, he was on probation for illegally carrying a weapon.
Elias Walker’s most recent arrests were on charges of disorderly conduct.
In November 2009, witnesses said he charged at a man while his back was turned and said, “I hate you,” called him a “snake” and cursed repeatedly, according to an incident report from Walterboro Public Safety.
In April 2012, Walterboro officers reported they arrested Elias Walker after an afternoon of drinking led him to challenge “everyone who lived in the house to a fight.”

Not even the Salon is safe...

Affidavit: Barber threatened to kill teen during rape

Posted: Sep 19, 2012 1:05 PM EDT Updated: Sep 19, 2012 3:44 PM EDT
WEST ASHLEY, SC (WCSC) - The Charleston Police Department has charged a 30-year-old man after they say he sexually assaulted a 14-year-old girl at a beauty salon on Sam Rittenberg Boulevard in West Ashley.
Investigators charged Christopher Terell Gilyard of Orangeburg with second-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor.
On Friday, police officers spoke to a woman who said her daughter was sexually assaulted by one of the salon's barbers on the afternoon of July 11.
According to court documents, Gilyard was alone with the victim in the store when he first touched her breasts over her shirt. The affidavit states Gilyard then pushed the teen to the floor, took off her clothes, and had sexual intercourse with her.
The affidavit states the victim tried to push Gilyard off of her, but he was too heavy. The victim also told investigators she tried to scream, but he said "shut the (expletive) up" and threatened her, saying, "You better not tell anyone or I'll kill you, I swear to God."
Documents state the incident lasted approximately ten minutes.
Police say Gilyard was served with a warrant Tuesday at the Charleston County Detention Center, where he is being held on unrelated charges.
Copyright 2012 WCSC. All rights reserved.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

South Carolina makes number 4 on the 'most miserable states' list

South Carolina on "most miserable states" list

Posted: Sep 14, 2012 10:00 AM EDT Updated: Sep 14, 2012 6:11 PM EDT

The Bloomberg network says South Carolina is the fourth most miserable state in the United States, according to a list of aggregated statistics.
Using the "misery index", a method of measuring the level of happiness or sadness in a state, combined with 13 other measurements such as income inequality, air pollution, lack of health insurance and underemployment, the network says the top five states are all in the South.
Coming in at number one is Mississippi, which the network says has an income per capita of $31,000 -- less than the national average of $39,000.
Alabama comes in at number two because of high income inequality. Number three is Louisiana, and of course, our beloved Palmetto State is number four. Filling out the dubious top five is Arkansas.
Reaction across the state has been of shock and surprise. For example, Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin doesn't agree with the metrics.
"It's very easy to sit down and look at a number of metrics on a piece of paper and that well, we're better than those guys. But every indicator that I've seen, and I'm speaking statistically but also anecdotally, when I bring my friends here from New York City and I've lived in New York City -- they'd all much rather live in South Carolina," Benjamin said.
Jasmine Edney isn't feeling the misery.
"I have a good job," she said. "You know I'm stable, I have my own place. I do think that we're underpaid in South Carolina. But I've grown up here my whole life. It's a great state."
Edney is hardly alone.
"There's cultural things here that we've got, the museums and Koger Center and we've got places we can go to do those kind of things," said Mary Jo Craft. "We've got the Gamecocks."
"Quality of life is okay," said Mark Smith of Lexington. "I wouldn't say better than okay. I don't really think it affects me some of those issues."
Mayor Benjamin believes South Carolina is doing better than Bloomberg's numbers might suggest.
"Their metrics and our metrics as to what makes a great place to live may be a little different," said Benjamin. "I believe that we have to have a safe city, a clean city. A city that's focused on job creation and one that focuses on quality of life issues like health and wellness and we're doing those things now."
"I've grown up here my whole life," said Edney. "I can't complain too much. But I'm turning 24 so I'm just now getting to that stage where all of those things really affect me."
On the flip side, the network says Minnesota is the least miserable state in the country.
Notice the one thing in common with all the most miserable states? Membership in the Southeastern Conference.
Well, at least the football is good.
Copyright 2012 WIS. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Damn South Carolina - you scary!

Mother of 5 finds ex-boyfriend living in her attic

by DIANNE GALLAGHER / NewsChannel 36 Staff

ROCK HILL, S.C. -- A Rock Hill woman says she found an old boyfriend living in the attic of her home after being released from jail recently.

A mother of five said her children are afraid to sleep in their own rooms after finding the man living in the attic of their home.
She asked Newschannel 36 not to identify her by name because her old boyfriend who was living in her attic is still on the loose, but said she heard a thump coming from the ceiling after she put her children to bed Saturday night.
"Then all the nails just popped out of the ceiling over my bed. Like 'bing, bing, bing,'" said the woman.
Thinking it was an animal, she asked her older sons and adult nephew to check out what was happening upstairs.
"They found a man. He had packed all the old coats and jackets into the heating unit and was sleeping in the heating unit," she said, adding that the man ran downstairs and out of the house before police could get there.
Officers did find several "Route 44" Sonic cups filled with feces and urine in the attic. The man also appeared to have rigged the ceiling vents so he could see into the woman's bedroom.
The only entrance to the attic is inside the home -- in the hall that connects her children's bedrooms.

Officers are trying to determine just how the suspect was able to get inside the house to go up in the attic each day.
The woman says she had broken off a relationship with the man years ago, though he had done some work on her home about a year ago.

He was convicted of stealing her truck earlier this year. He finished serving that sentence and was released from jail two weeks ago.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Man shoots himself showing the TV 'how it's done.'

Conway man dies in accidental shooting

CONWAY -- Horry County police officers responded to a shooting incident on Wayside Road Thursday night, where one man was found dead, according to a report from the Horry County Police Department.

When officers entered the home, they found a man lying face down on a fan with a pool of blood around his head and a black revolver next to his right hand, the report said. The victim was identified as James Gagum, 43, who was pronounced dead at the scene.
Witnesses said the victim was in the recliner and had been watching a movie, then picked up his gun, held it to his head and stated, “That’s not how its done,” the report said. He began pulling the trigger when, on the third pull, the gun went off.

Sgt. Robert Kegler, public information officer with Horry County police, said the shooting was accidental.
Gagum was in the news last spring when he shot and killed one of three suspects who broke into his home, threatening him and his wife at gunpoint and demanding money and valuables, Kegler said. Gagum did not face charges in the incident.