Headlines from Alabama 810 News
be examined today at Anniston Army Depot
pleads guilty to drug charges
pleads guilty to Pell City Murder
Sought in Margaret Murder
victim remains critical
A 33 year old
Anniston man who escaped and assaulted a Deputy Monday was captured in
Cobb County Georgia Thursday by the Cobb County Organized Crime Unit,
Clay Ewing is expected to have an extradition hearing today, According
to Calhoun County Chief Deputy Matthew Wade, their investigation and
search for Ewing has led to several arrests including that of an
employee at the Anniston City Jail. James Floyd Smelcher, Jr is
charged with Hindering prosecution and was arrested and held under a
150 thousand dollar bond. Tessa Meharg is accused of transporting
Ewing and hiding his whereabouts from authorities; she has been
charged with hindering prosecution and was held under a ten thousand
dollar bond. A deputy responded to a domestic violence call Monday
and arrested Ewing, placing him in the patrol car. While the deputy,
who was alone, checked on the victim,
kicked out a window and escaped, when the deputy tackled him,
Ewing broke the
deputy’s nose and fled. According to Chief Deputy Wade, Ewing had
just been released from the Anniston City Jail
Amerson said that a major factor in the injury to the deputy and
Ewing’s escape is the lack of adequate staffing in the Sheriffs
department. Investigators are continuing to investigate
activities after his escape and further arrests and charges are
Explosives to be
examined today at Anniston Army Depot
plan to examine two mortar rounds today from the former Camp Sibert
that were dug up decades ago and are suspected of containing a
Authorities with the Anniston Army Depot were told Tuesday that two
4.2-inch mortar rounds found a number of years ago were at a farm near
The two mortar
rounds were taken to the Anniston Army Depot as a precautionary
measure and treated as potential chemical rounds because Camp Sibert
was a chemical weapons training base during World War II.
Mike Abrams, the public affairs officer for the chemical weapons
incinerator in Anniston, said Thursday the rounds are in a storage
igloo at the Depot awaiting the arrival of a five-member team of
chemical specialists with the 22nd Chemical Battalion at Pine Bluff,
Ark. The team will use specialized equipment to determine the rounds'
Abrams said "They had been plowed up 20 or more years ago and had been
in someone's personal possession,".
He did not know where the mortar rounds had been stored during the
years that passed between their initial discovery and when authorities
Abrams said this week's incident demonstrates how people who live near
or have access to land that was Camp Sibert or land around the firing
ranges at the former Fort McClellan should be aware of the potential
to come in contact with military weapons, including mortar and
Abrams said "I sure wish they wouldn't pick them up or disturb them,".
"Not only is there the danger of an explosion, there's also the
possibility there could be some chemical warfare involved. It would be
a shame if someone's ignorance led to someone getting hurt."
He said anyone who finds suspected military weapons should contact
their local police department or sheriff's office.
The two mortar rounds in question are the same type devices as one
found in a pasture near Steele in 2002. Contractors working for the
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers were searching for buried weapons as part
of a three-phase investigation of Camp Sibert.
That mortar round was found on a farm at the dead end of Duncan Farm
Road off Steele Station Road. It was detonated and the choking agent
inside it was neutralized in a containment facility built on site.
Camp Sibert encompassed 37,035 acres in Etowah and St. Clair counties.
Much of the land that comprised the military base became private
property when the government released it following decontamination
after military training ended at the camp in 1945.
The Army conducted several cleanup operations at Camp Sibert during
1947 and 1948, though the possibility exists that chemical warfare
agents and conventional ordnance may still be in many locations.
The Corps and those contracted by the federal agency to search for
chemical weapons have been in an area around Duncan Farm Road for the
past few weeks.
Abrams said he did not know if the two mortar rounds were found off
Duncan Farms Road, but said the road had been discussed in the context
of the old rounds.
Camp Sibert is part of the Formerly Used Defense Sites program
established in 1986 by Congress to clean up former military
The Corps received $6 million this year through the FUDS program to
investigate the area near Steele designated as Site 8 where the live
mortar round was found in 2002.
Pat Robbins, public affairs officer for the Corps' Mobile District,
said the set-up and training process would take several weeks and it
"it will probably be late April" before contractors begin clearing and
digging work on the land.
Weaver man pleads guilty to drug charges
A 46 year old
Weaver man on parole for previous drug charges, has entered a guilty
plea to cooking methamphetamine next door to Weaver High School.
Charles Lea Pearl entered the guilty plea to first degree
manufacturing methamphetimines as a jury was being selected for his
trial. Pearl was arrested last March 15th after officers
with the Calhoun County Drug Task Force and officers from the Weaver
Police Department executed a search warrant at his Newberry Road home
in Weaver. Officers found an active Meth lab which was operating 500
High School. Pearls parole was revoked as a habitual violator pearl’s
only available sentences were life or 99 years in prison, Judge
Malcolm Street Jr. sentenced him to life in prison
Trammell pleads guilty to Pell City Murder
31 year old
Henry Lee Trammel of Ragland plead guilty yesterday to the November
2004 murder of 35 year old Billy Joe Jones of Pell City. Jones had
been shot once in the head by Trammel as he sped away in his car.
Jones was struck in the back of the head by one of four shots fired by
Trammell, he died five days later in a Birmingham hospital. Trammell
was initially charged with capital murder, but under a plea agreement
with the District Attorneys office was allowed to plea to a lesser
charge of murder. Sentencing is set for May 11th.
Death Penalty sought in Margaret Murder
St. Clair County
District Attorney Richard Minor has announced he will seek the death
penalty for a man accused of murdering his 79 year old relative last
week in Margaret. 31 year old Sedrick Hardrick is currently charged
with three counts of capital murder in the February 27th
death of 79 year old Ollie Brown. If convicted, Hardrick could
receive the death penalty or life in prison without parole. Hardrick
was released from prison in December where he completed a sentence on
burglary and theft charges.
Accident victim remains critical
53 year old
James Michael Ripka remains in critical condition at Regional Medical
Center after losing both of his legs after being struck by a car a
week ago. Ripka was waking on the Old Gadsden Highway last friday
evening when an eastbound vehicle swerved to miss him and a second
vehicle driven by 72 year old James Murphy of
passed the first vehicle and struck Ripka. Police did not charge
the driver as Ripka was wearing dark clothing and walking in poor
lighting. Police also say the car was traveling 15 miles an hour
below the posted speed limit.
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