Alabama man faces new charge after jailhouse calls
GADSDEN, Ala. (AP) — A Gadsden man faces a charge of criminal solicitation of murder, stemming from new evidence that caused a mistrial last month in his scheduled trial for attempted murder.
Erick Deshawn Ransom, 19, was arrested in April 2016 for the shooting of a Gadsden man at a residence. His trial was set to start in September in Etowah County Circuit Court; a jury was seated and opening arguments were prepared.
However, the state notified Ransom’s attorneys, Dani Bone and Sam Bone, about new evidence in the case.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Marcus Reid said the state had been monitoring Ransom’s phone calls from jail, and Deputy District Attorney Carol Griffith found communications between Ransom and his girlfriend that they believed to be an effort to solicit “a hit” on the victim in the attempted murder case.
The victim was mentioned by name in the conversation, with the defendant saying he was coming to trial the next Monday, telling her to get another party to “pop his cherry” before then.
Dani Bone said the calls were made before the original August trial date in the case — a continuance had been granted — but apparently was not discovered until later.
The state wanted to bring the phone call or calls into evidence, Bone said, and based on its late offering, the defense moved for a mistrial, which Circuit Judge George Day granted.
Bone said they’d had no time to prepare for the evidence. He said the defense denies that the calls were an effort to set up a hit, and because of the slang and coded language in them, a linguist might be needed to interpret them.
Ransom was returned to the Etowah County Detention Center facing the additional solicitation of murder charge. The complaint says he did “solicit, request, command or importune I.A. to engage in conduct constituting the crime of murder.”
No new court date has been set.
Information from: The Gadsden Times, http://www.gadsdentimes.com