Officers kill murder suspect

An Augusta man free on bond awaiting a murder trial was killed by Richmond County Sheriff's deputies Thursday when he refused to put down the knife he held to his wife's throat.

 

Police said Terry Ramsey, 41, was shot when deputies responding to a phone call from his 14-year-old son, found him threatening his estranged wife Tameka Ramsey. He died at 4:49 a.m. at Medical College of Georgia Hospital.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is investigating the shooting at 814 Metcalf St., and both deputies -- Chadwick Plueger and Sylvester Rosier -- have been placed on desk duty.

Sheriff Ronnie Strength said there was some indication Mr. Ramsey had been drinking.

Mr. Ramsey was out on bond after fatally shooting Richard Paprocki at Mr. Ramsey's Gordon Highway home in August 2008.

Assistant District Attorney Anthony Nicastro said former Superior Court Judge Duncan Wheale had set a $50,000 bond for Mr. Ramsey on the condition he live with his mother and have no contact with witnesses.

Deputies sent to the house early Thursday said they heard screams for help coming from inside and forced their way in.

They said they found Mr. Ramsey sitting on the couch with a knife to his wife's throat.

Sheriff Strength said the deputies told him to drop the knife and when he refused, they both fired. One bullet struck his chest and another his side.

He said the couple's two children -- the son and an 8-year-old daughter -- were in the home.

An autopsy has been scheduled at the GBI crime lab in Augusta.

Although it's uncommon for someone facing murder charges to be free on bond, legal authorities say judges do set bond in some circumstances.

Attorney Gregory Leopard, who represented Mr. Ramsey at his August 2008 bond hearing in Richmond County Superior Court, said his client had a very strong case of self-defense in the Paprocki shooting. Mr. Leopard said he was surprised that the prosecutor sought an indictment.

Mr. Ramsey's account was corroborated by witnesses present at Mr. Ramsey's Gordon Highway home the night of the fatal shooting, Mr. Leopard said.

Mr. Ramsey, who had just had half his thyroid removed because of cancer, shot in self-defense when Mr. Paprocki charged at him, Mr. Leopard said. Mr. Paprocki had already hit other people present before he charged at Mr. Ramsey, his attorney said.

Mr. Leopard also represented Mr. Ramsey in a child custody case involving his wife.

According to Richmond County Superior Court records, Mr. Ramsey filed for divorce in April 2008 after his wife moved out of their home. He was granted visitation with the couple's two children.

Mr. Leopard said Mr. Ramsey didn't press the case because he was dealing with so much between the cancer and the murder charge.

Three years earlier, Mrs. Ramsey had filed for divorce alleging Mr. Ramsey had a history of verbal and physical abuse in front of the their children. The petition noted Mr. Ramsey was arrested and accused of firing a gun inside their home in February 2005.

In the first divorce petition, the couple was ordered to take part in mediation. The case was dismissed in December 2007.

Reach Adam Folk and Sandy Hodson at (706) 724-0851.

NO STRANGER TO THE LAW

Terry Ramsey, 41, who was shot and killed by Richmond County Sheriff's deputies on Thursday, had a history of run-ins with the law.

FEBRUARY 2005: Reckless conduct for firing .40-caliber handgun near his wife

DECEMBER 2005: Terroristic threats for threatening a sheriff's investigator with a gun

DECEMBER 2006: DUI sentencing (one day in jail, 12 months' probation, fined $651 and ordered to perform 40 hours of community service and attend a risk-reduction program)

Dec. 2, 2008: Indictment on charges of malice murder, felony murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime

-- From staff reports

RECENT POLICE SHOOTINGS

A look at other shootings involving Richmond County officers:

NOV. 24, 2008. Investigator Tim Tobias fatally shot Joseph Gooden, 26. The 21-year veteran was working a special-duty assignment at Captain D's restaurant on Wrightsboro Road when Mr. Gooden, armed with a BB gun, robbed the restaurant. Mr. Gooden was killed in the shooting.

DEC. 14, 2008. Deputies Jose Rivera Ortiz and Michael Hodge were responding to a tip about a man with drugs and weapons in an SUV when they boxed in Justin Leonard Elmore, 23, using their patrol cars in the Cherry Tree neighborhood. Deputies said Mr. Elmore rammed Deputy Hodge's car and drove toward Deputy Ortiz. The deputies fired on Mr. Elmore and he died several days later.

DEC. 25, 2008. Deputy Scott White shot and wounded Georgette Reid during a hostage situation on Sunny Day Road in Hephzibah. Ms. Reid was fighting with her live-in girlfriend when she struck her in the head with a hammer and took her 4-year-old son hostage with a knife. As Deputy White entered the room, he shot Ms. Reid in the shoulder and pulled the boy away.

-- From staff reports