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Judge grants bond for gravely ill murder suspect

Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012 7:38 PM
Last updated Thursday, Nov. 22, 2012 12:09 AM
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Bond was granted Wednesday for an 86-year-old man accused in the fatal shooting of his nephew in a patient’s room at University Hospital last month.

Charles Gorrell  SPECIAL
SPECIAL
Charles Gorrell

Court officials assembled a hastily called afternoon hearing after a “gravely ill” Charles W. Gorrell was released from Doctors Hospital and sent back into sheriff’s custody at the Charles B. Webster Detention Center on Phinizy Road.

It was Gorrell’s fifth trip to a hospital since his arrest Oct. 16, when authorities say he brought a pistol into his wife’s room on the hospital’s seventh floor and shot 59-year-old Tim Grooms, according to Augusta District Attorney Ashley Wright.

Superior Court Judge William M. Fleming Jr. denied Gorrell’s original request for bond Nov. 1. In his motion to reconsider bond, William Sussman said his client’s health had declined rapidly in the past month – he has dropped 32 pounds and is no longer able to walk.

“He’s no longer ambulatory. He is in a wheelchair,” Sussman said.

The motion states that Gorrell has been diagnosed with diabetes, congestive heart failure and has contracted pneumonia. He was most recently hospitalized for coughing up blood, a complication related to a blood thinning medication he is taking, the motion said.

Maj. Gene Johnson, Richmond County jail administrator, told the court that the jail was not equipped to handle someone with Gorrell’s extensive medical needs.

“He needs to be in a hospital, not in jail,” Johnson said.

The urgency of Gorrell’s health situation was evident by the effort put forth in the hearing to resolve the problem. At one point Superior Court Judge Danny Craig had Johnson, a probation officer with Sentinal Offender Services and the defendant’s son on a speaker-phone conference call in court trying to work out a way to keep the frail inmate from spending another night in jail.

“I’m pretty much convinced that in a jail setting that he might not live to Friday,” Craig said.

There were objections to Gorrell’s release, however. Craig waited to convene the hearing until the victim’s wife, Linda Grooms, could travel to court from Lincoln County.

Grooms said she feared for the safety of her aunt Frances – Gorrell’s wife – if he was released from custody.

“I’m afraid he will get some of his church friends to take him where he wants to go,” Grooms said between sobs. “He would find a way just like he did with my husband.”

Authorities said Grooms’ husband held a power of attorney for his aunt, who was admitted to University Hospital Oct. 15 for treatment of pneumonia.

Officials said that Gorrell objected to some of the decisions Grooms made involving his wife’s care and that there were several disputes leading up to the fatal shooting.

On Oct. 16, an argument developed over who would spend the night at the hospital. Witnesses said Gorrell used a black bag to take a gun into the hospital and fired at least four shots at Grooms, killing him. Gorrell was taken into custody by University Hospital security personnel.

Craig said he, too, was concerned for the family’s safety and sought assurances from Gorrell’s son, Greg Gorrell, that he would keep a close watch on his father at his home in Columbia.

Craig also arranged for an electronic monitoring bracelet to be placed on Gorrell while he is out on bond. The bracelet will alert the probation office, which will call court and sheriff’s officials should Gorrell leave his son’s home before he comes back to court – if that ever happens.

Craig said if he continues to deteriorate Gorrell might only have weeks to live.

Craig said everyone on the alert list should expect a call over the holiday weekend.

“We really do expect that he will be going to a hospital in the next few days,” Craig said.

Comments (9) Add comment
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Austin Rhodes
2862
Points
Austin Rhodes 11/21/12 - 09:07 pm
3
0
Why not ACMI ?

Isn't that what it is there for?

Jake
32523
Points
Jake 11/21/12 - 09:11 pm
2
1
Murderer suffering

I hope he is suffering based upon his murder. Let him rot in jail since he will probably not make it to court. He should of thought of his condition before he murdered an innocent person.

fatboyhog
1940
Points
fatboyhog 11/21/12 - 09:32 pm
3
0
ACMI is a state prison, for

ACMI is a state prison, for state prisoners. I agree that he should rot in jail, but why should taxpayers foot the bill for his medical care. Let him rot and pay his own bills. Put a monitor on his wheelchair. Limit his movements.

nycweeks
41
Points
nycweeks 11/21/12 - 10:23 pm
2
5
Angry Bumpkins

He has not been to trial. None of you have enough information to decide where he needs to be. "Rotting in jail" will not help anyone. How does anyone of you know the "Innocence" level of the shooting victim. A jury will decide that. Telling us that he "should of" done anything is ridiculous. (Should've is a contraction for should have). You're just repeating some silly phrase you heard on TV or in another bumpkins conversation. Think for yourself.

r
400
Points
r 11/21/12 - 11:06 pm
1
1
Family Dispute

In a family dispute this many was very wrong for shooting someone. But don't take sides unless you where present.

tealilly
34
Points
tealilly 11/21/12 - 11:49 pm
4
0
I agree with Austin Rhodes

I think he should have been taken to AMCI. At least he would have still been locked up. No matter what his condition is he should have been made to stay in jail. Mrs. Grooms shouldn't have to live in fear. She is right! If he's killed once, he will kill again, especially knowing he may not have long to live. He is a murderer no matter how you look at it. He is no better than any other ill person in jail. If that's the case then Danny Craig should make a way for all the rest to come home as well. I'm just saying....

Little Lamb
45869
Points
Little Lamb 11/22/12 - 12:36 am
1
4
Ambulatory

If the guy is in a wheelchair and "no longer ambulatory," then he is not a flight risk. Therefore, bond is appropriate. The medical prison out on Gordon Highway is a state prison, as fatboyhog said. It is not appropriate for a person awaiting trial.

F4therTime
4656
Points
F4therTime 11/22/12 - 09:15 am
2
0
Wait a sec...
Unpublished

I don't care what the family argument is NOBODY HAS THE RIGHT TO SHOOT SOMEONE!!! If your defending yourself? I have no problem. I don't care what sleight you may think you have you don't sneak a gun into a hospital and shoot someone just because you don't like something they said or did. You bleeding hearts need a reality check!! I also think he should be relased from custody and chained in a house somewhere so tax payers don't have to pay his hospital bills!

Willow Bailey
20580
Points
Willow Bailey 11/22/12 - 09:53 am
2
0
I agree with Austin too. I

I agree with Austin too. I think RC wants him off their property and out of their responsibility. Although "dead by Friday" would seem to be a blessing for him.

My prayers today for Mrs. Grooms as well as Gorrell's son & family.
A very hurtful and difficult time for all.

Sweet son
10356
Points
Sweet son 11/22/12 - 11:13 am
2
0
You guys are missing the big picture!

Let him out on bond so his family will be responsible for medical bills! It is obvious he is not much of a risk!

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