University Hospital shooting suspect to stay in jail

Man asks for bond to help with ill wife

An 85-year-old Aiken County man accused of fatally shooting his nephew Tuesday in a University Hospital patient room will remain in the Richmond County jail until a Superior Court bond hearing is scheduled, a judge ruled Wednesday.

Charles Gorrell, of Sud­low Lake Road, was arrested on charges of murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime after investigators said he shot Tim Grooms, of Lincolnton, Ga., about 3 p.m. The shooting took place while Grooms and Gorrell were inside a seventh-floor room, where Gorell’s wife was being treated. Gorrell then surrendered his gun to hospital security, police said.

During a hearing Wednes­day before Magistrate Judge Stephen Shepherd, Gorrell had to be moved closer to the bench to hear the charges, then asked the judge whether there were different degrees of killing people. Shepherd advised Gorrell to not speculate about his charges in court.

Gorrell also asked his bond be set quickly because his wife was scheduled for release from the hospital Friday after treatment for pneumonia.

“We’re trying to get her to our home, and we thought I could get out on bond to help her,” Gorrell said.

Shepherd said he did not have the authority as a magistrate to set bond on Gorrell’s felony charges, and he would have to remain in jail until a Superior Court judge could act.

The reasons for the fatal shooting remained unclear Wednesday.

Richmond County sheriff’s Capt. Scott Peebles said investigators had been told there had been a longstanding feud between Gorrell and his nephew but whatever sparked Tuesday’s violence was still unclear.

Peebles said he had heard several stories about what precipitated the shooting, including some tension over legal issues, but he would not speculate on the motive.

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