Multi-Agency search ends with suspect capture

News

(Photos provided by Pickens County Sheriff’s Office)

MARBLE HILL, Ga. – According to Pickens County Sheriff’s Office Captain Kris Stancil, a recent accident led to a drawn-out search and capture of one Richard Eric Duckett, 25.

Richard Eric Duckett

Richard Eric Duckett

The Pickens Sheriff involved support from four other agencies including GBI (Georgia Bureau of Investigation), Georgia State Patrol, the Gilmer Sheriff’s Office, and the Cherokee-Pickens multi-agency SWAT team.

Though they did eventually capture Duckett, what follows is the Pickens Sheriff’s Public Release about the events leading up to his capture.

During a bizarre twist of events, an accident that deputies responded to on Highway 53 East in Marble Hill Georgia on March 7th at approximately 10:30 pm, turned out to be an Aggravated Assault case. Upon arrival at an accident, deputies found the driver of one vehicle to be suffering from a gunshot wound to his leg. Another vehicle, a motorcycle, was also found wrecked with no driver in site.

Recognizing that this was more than an accident, deputies requested the assistance of detectives, the Georgia State Patrol and later the GBI Crime Scene Unit to respond as well.

What we have learned about this active case is that a domestic dispute erupted at a residence on Andiron Way in Marble Hill Georgia. During the dispute, Richard Eric Duckett (age 25) shot Roy Joseph Holloway in the right leg. After shooting Holloway, Duckett then fled the residence on a Yamaha Motorcycle. Holloway then got into a Lexus passenger car and began to chase after him.

As they traveled East on Hwy 53 East, Duckett lost control of the motorcycle and wrecked in the 10000 block of Hwy 53 East, near the J.M. Huber Corporation. Holloway then continued to travel East for approximately ½ mile before he wrecked the car near Pea Ridge Road.

Holloway was transported by ambulance and was treated for his injuries and released.

A search for Duckett began using the assistance of a Gilmer County Sheriff’s Office canine unit. Following a track and additional witness information, it was determined that Duckett had received a ride back to the residence at 18 Andiron Way. Once this information was obtained, detectives obtained a Search Warrant and Arrest Warrant for Mr. Duckett. Due to no one answering the multiple attempts to come to the door, the Cherokee-Pickens multi-agency SWAT team was requested to execute entry and conduct a search warrant.

During the execution of the search warrant, Mr. Duckett was not found in the residence but Patrick Scheibel (age 20) was arrested for Obstruction of Law Enforcement Officers.

Deputies continued to search for Duckett in the immediate area throughout the night.

On Friday, March 8th, deputies were called to a residence in the area of Duckett Lane for an individual requesting an ambulance due to a motorcycle accident. Upon arrival, they learned that the individual was Mr. Duckett. He had what appear to be non-life-threatening injuries and was transported by ambulance to an area hospital for treatment. Detective accompanied him on the transport.

This case is still being actively investigated to determine the events that led up to the shooting and to process the evidence obtained at the residence and in the vehicles.

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DA Sosebee begins information campaign in schools

News, Videos
District Attorney Alison Sosebee speaking to GHS students about Vaping and drug use.

ELLIJAY, Ga – The Appalachian Judicial Circuit’s District Attorney, Alison Sosebee, began her campaign today in Fannin Middle School and Gilmer High School with presentations for students about the rising trend of vaping in all forms.

Speaking to the students she shared some of the responses that authorities have begun included harsher penalties for vape devices in general, not to mention the felonies possible with controlled substances. Using drugs in the vape devices like the popular Juul brand devices is only a part of growing concerns as authorities and administrations fear for students who expect non-nicotine flavored water vapor in devices they may find friends with when in reality these devices could contain anything from Heroin to Synthetic Marijuana.

Sosebee also invited Georgia Bureau of Investigations Special Agent Dustin Hamby to speak about the Bureau’s involvement. Hamby noted that almost 90% of his cases tied to drug usage in some way. He goes on to note that he’s had three murders in his career directly related to drug usage.

Sosebee recalled the story of a case she and Hamby shared about a guy who had taken drugs with a close friend. Under the influence, he grew greatly agitated at his friend and violently murdered him without full realization. He spoke further about how little it takes to blow up into major consequences in situations like vaping unknown substances.

Sosebee also noted that they are finding that many students and users of vape devices believe them safer than regular cigarettes. She noted that not only is there zero research to support his claim, but there is also no research or regulations on vaping devices right now. No one can tell you everything that is in Vape Juice, nor if people at smoke shops are adding extra ingredients. She called the students this generations guinea pigs for testing if vaping as they would be the cases that doctors study thirty years from now to determine the actual effects that Vaping can have in both short-term and long-term effects.

Only the first day, Sosebee is expected to travel to Fannin High, Pickens High, and Pickens Middle schools in the next two weeks along with possibly adding Gilmer Middle as well.

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East Ellijay Police Officer Arrested. Theft by Taking

Featured

The GBI arrested East Ellijay Police Office Michael McClure at approximately noon today February 14th 2018.  A copy of Booking report and warrant below.  FYN has requested a statement from the GBI and East Ellijay Police Chief Larry Callahan.

Below is a Press Release Statement from East Ellijay Chief of Police, Larry Callahan.

GBI Investigates Officer Involved Shooting in Habersham County, GA

State & National

GBI Seeks Help with Identifying Body Found in Banks County.

News

GBI Seeks Help with Identifying Body

Commerce, Georgia – The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) is seeking the public’s help in identifying human remains found near Interstate 85 in Banks County.

On Sunday, February 5, 2017, a skeleton was discovered in a wooded area near New Salem Methodist Church, at 2170 Highway 59, in Commerce.  The body’s location was one mile south of I-85, Exit 154 for Toccoa/SR 63/Martin Bridge Road.  The Banks County Sheriff’s Office requested GBI’s assistance with the investigation.

A forensic anthropological examination estimates the remains to be of an African American/Hispanic female, approximately 30-44 years of age, and approximately 4’9’ to 5’6” in height.  The date of death is estimated to be up to 4 years prior to the time of discovery.

Found among the remains, was a metal ring and a butterfly necklace charm (see attached photographs). Blue, purple, and gray in color fabrics were also collected from the scene. Dental is available for comparison.

Anyone with information concerning the case is asked to call the GBI Athens office at 706-552-2309 or the Banks County Sheriff’s Office at 706-677-2248. Information may also be submitted on-line here.

INMATE SUICIDE IN THE PICKENS SHERIFF’S OFFICE ADULT DETENTION CENTER

Police & Government

Pickens County Georgia, May 2, 2017: During the night of Friday, April 28th, an inmate hung himself in a holding cell of the Adult Detention Center. Detention Officers located an inmate hanging from the bunk bed in his holding cell.

Detention Officers immediately began CPR and continued to do CPR and attempted to use an AED defibrillator until the arrival of Emergency Medical Personnel. Upon the arrival of medical personnel, the inmate was transported to Piedmont Mountainside Hospital, where he was pronounced after attempts to revive him were unsuccessful.

Due to the nature of the death being a suicide, we are not releasing the inmate’s name at this time.

The inmate had been arrested earlier in the day for the misdemeanor charges of Simple Battery and Criminal Trespass. He was still in the holding area awaiting an opportunity to post his bond. There were no additional inmates in the cell with him at the time of the incident. The individual was a 48 year old, white male. He was arrested locally, not housed for another jurisdiction.

Due to the incident involving an inmate in custody, Sheriff Craig requested the aid of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Due to the active nature of the investigation, additional details related to the incident are not available now.

Detectives are working with the GBI to investigate an apparent murder suicide in Pickens County

News

On Tuesday, March 21st, deputies responded to an address on Burgess Road West in Jasper Georgia. The caller had advised that he had found his tenant in his home and he was not conscious. After arriving, deputies found 2 individuals in the home that were deceased.

During the initial investigation, it appears that a Mr. Perry Wayne Hightower killed Ms. Brenda Castleberry and then committed suicide. Hightower, 59 years old, was in a relationship with Ms. Castleberry, 62 years old.

The caller revealed that he had went to the home with a family member of Ms. Castleberry after they had not heard from her for a short period of time, which was rare.

At this time, the case is still being actively investigated by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and detectives with the Pickens Sheriff’s Office. No additional details are available regarding the case at this time.

Culbreth Arrested for Inappropriate Contact with Students

News

Mr. Daniel Culbreth, a teacher and Football Coach for Pickens County, has been arrested by authorities relating to Inappropriate Contact with Children.

According to Captain Kris Stancil of the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office, authorities began an investigation last week after receiving information from a citizen who had “overheard or overseen” questionable contact involving Culbreth. Following up on warrants issued for copies of conversations across SnapChat, a popular modern application for Social Media, authorities have found numerous contacts involving questionable content of conversations as well as nude photos being both sent and received.

Stancil did state at least five students have been identified so far ranging between 16 and 17 years of age and at least one possible instance has involved physical sexual activity. However, Stancil declined to give an actual total number involved due to the continuing investigation and evidence leading them to believe still more students could be involved.

While investigations like this can sometimes take much longer before an actual arrest is made as Stancil stated, “typically we would love to wait until we have been able to execute all warrants and gather all the data,” the Sheriff’s office moved quickly to make an arrest this time “because he was a teacher and we had confirmed that he was having physical contact and cyber contact with the students, we couldn’t leave him in a classroom setting. Our number one priority is the safety of the students so we had to move forward on that.”

On October 6, Culbreth was arrested on school property after he returned from a football game, though Stancil stated he was taken into custody out of sight of students and staff without incident. The arrest could culminate in additional charges or even changes to the current charges, Computer Exploitation of Children and Sexual Assault by Persons with Supervisory Authority, as the investigation continues.

When asked, Stancil stated current evidence leads authorities to believe this action has been going on several months, one potential involvement could include a student from last year now in college, and that he was alone in this actions. The investigation could continue to uncover more information or previous action as it expands to other social media sites and personal electronics and devices. This continuation is to further explore how far the contact went. When asked, Stancil stated there is no evidence at this point to indicate Culbreth saved the images or posted them to any websites or that he forced himself physically onto any students, but the investigation was ongoing.

Culbreth was previously arrested one charges of DUI last year. FYN attempted to ask Board of Education Attorney Phil Landrum about the incident and the Board’s response. While Landrum confirmed the Board does not automatically terminate a teacher due to DUI, he did state that discipline for the infraction was handled internally in the School System. However, Landrum declined to comment on what discipline was enacted.

Being a Coach for the School System as well, FYN asked Head Coach Chris Parker about the incident. The only comment Parker would make was that he was unaware of the actions and that Culbreth was, “Obviously, no longer on his staff.” His focus, he stated, was on his players now, and getting them ready to play.

Considering the students, Stancil assured FYN that students involved were being monitored closely by the school system and the Sheriff’s Office was offering any assistance be it Resource Officers, Sheriff, Deputies, or any Command Staff in participation for the school and the students safety they could possibly offer.

Stancil also went further to urge parents to get more involved in their child’s social media, who they are “friending,” and what sort of contact is taking place especially if they have “friended” Culbreth. He also urged parents to get online and check out the Georgia Buraeu of Investigation Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. The Sheriff’s Office is also urging people who believe their children were involved with Culbreth to contact their Criminal Investigation Division at 706-253-8935. He offered assurances to any who step forward that the Sheriff’s office would protect not only their identity but also their story and integrity, and that even if they feel evidence is gone or has been destroyed, there are ways of recovering evidence.

Culbreth has already been to his first appearance in court today, October 7, for the issue to begin basic court proceedings including discussion of a possible bond hearing, his rights, and the coming litigation.

Click Here to read the Sheriff’s Office Media Release or check below to listen to the full Press Conference held by Captain Kris Stancil.

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