Originally created 05/20/00

State extradites soldier



A Fort Gordon soldier has returned to North Carolina to face murder charges in the death of a Gastonia, N.C., man last month.

Gastonia authorities removed Pvt. Stevie Lipscomb, 23, from the Richmond County jail Friday afternoon, and he arrived in his hometown, located about 22 miles west of Charlotte, at about 4 p.m., Gastonia police Capt. Mike Quilliams said. Pvt. Lipscomb is being held in the Gaston County Jail without bond pending a hearing next week.

According to Capt. Quilliams, both Pvt. Lipscomb and his cousin, Chance Lipscomb, 21, are charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of Charles Ratchford, 19, on April 22. Police said Mr. Ratchford was shot five or six times in the chest after an argument at his residence at about 11:15 p.m.

Capt. Quilliams, citing the ongoing investigation, declined to say which suspect is accused of pulling the trigger.

"There may have been more people involved," Capt. Quilliams said.

Fort Gordon spokesman James Hudgins said Pvt. Lipscomb had been stationed at the post for several months. He was a member of A Company, 442nd Signal Battalion. Richmond County authorities arrested him at the fort Thursday.

Reach Johnny Edwards at (706) 823-3225 or jedwards92@hotmail.com.