Originally created 05/14/05

Former bondsman arrested



A former bail bondsman in McDuffie and Columbia counties was arrested Friday by federal agents and local police after being accused of soliciting someone to harm an Augusta attorney and an Appling resident.

The arrest warrant also alleges that he solicited someone to rape the Appling man's wife.

Danny Lee Savage Sr., of the 6200 block of Keg Creek Drive, Appling, was charged with one count of criminal attempted rape, one count of solicitation of rape, two counts of criminal attempted aggravated battery and two counts of solicitation of aggravated battery, said Columbia County sheriff's Capt. Steve Morris.

Agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Columbia County Sheriff's Office arrested Mr. Savage at about 11:30 a.m. in front of the Applebee's on North Belair Road in Evans. Mr. Savage was taken to the Columbia County Detention Center with no bond set.

"It was a joint investigation, but much credit goes to the FBI," Capt. Morris said, adding that he could not discuss how the FBI got involved, nor could he provide information about the person who had been solicited to commit the alleged crimes until after a preliminary hearing. "They (the FBI) originated the investigation, and then we began working jointly on it."

According to the arrest warrant, Mr. Savage is accused of attempting to pay someone "to maliciously cause bodily harm ... by serious disfigurement" to Richard Ingram, an attorney who unsuccessfully ran in 2004 for Columbia County Magistrate Judge, and Billy L. Morris, who lives on the same street as Mr. Savage. The warrant also accuses Mr. Savage of attempting to pay someone to rape Mr. Morris' wife, Ethel D. Morris.

The crimes solicited were not acted upon, and police do not believe they will be, Capt. Morris said.

"We have identified and notified these individuals of today's developments," Capt. Morris said. "... We don't believe they are in any jeopardy. There's no cause for concern beyond this point."

Mr. Ingram said Friday that he had been told about the threats weeks ago by authorities.

"I'm thankful that the FBI did a good job," he said. "When they called me, I just said, 'Y'all make sure to protect me and my family,' and they did. And I'm proud of them."

Mr. Ingram said he can think of a few reasons why such a threat might have been made against him. He said that he has known Mr. Savage since they attended Westside High School together and that he has known Mr. Morris since about 1992.

Mr. Ingram said he had represented Mr. Morris in a civil suit against Mr. Savage after a case in which Mr. Morris was charged with making terroristic threats against Mr. Savage. An indictment on the criminal charge was not granted by the grand jury, allowing Mr. Morris to then file suit against Mr. Savage. In the civil suit, however, a judge ruled in favor of Mr. Savage, according to court documents.

According to a courtroom transcript, Mr. Ingram also represented Paul M. Davis Jr., a twice-convicted drug dealer who was released in October after judges agreed to allow his father to pay $70,000 in additional fines.

The transcript states that Mr. Davis had worked with authorities to tape Mr. Savage in an attempt to gain information.

"He recorded Mr. Savage when he came into his place of business, and that recording was heard by Danny Craig, at which time Danny (Savage) had threatened to have somebody knock me off," Mr. Ingram said in the August transcript.

On Friday, Mr. Ingram said he believes his representation of Mr. Davis also might have played a part in an alleged threat against him.

Besides Mr. Savage's arrest Friday, he is facing a prior charge of theft by receiving stolen property stemming from a 2004 arrest in which he is accused of having a $22,000 tractor that had been reported stolen from Grovetown's John Deere Commercial Products plant. That case was scheduled for court early this week but was postponed.

A message left for Mr. Morris at his home and one left for the Savage family at Mr. Savage's home were not immediately returned Friday.

Staff Writers Valerie Rowell, Sandy Hodson and Jason Smith contributed to this article.

Reach Preston Sparks at 868-1222, ext. 115, or preston.sparks@augustachronicle.com.