The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

August 12, 2013

Sells appears in court

Tiffany Thompson
CNHI

Tuesday, August 13, 2013 — An elderly man charged in a double homicide from 2009 appeared in court Monday as several motions in his case was heard. The hearing was continued to later this week.

Gary Winston Sells Sr., who was 72 when he was arrested in May 2009, is facing two counts of first-degree murder, and one count of altering, stealing or destroying criminal evidence.

He was charged as a result of an investigation into the shooting deaths of Shirley Inez Rummage and Ricky Dale Lowder.

Sells’ attorney, Kirk Bowling, presented motions in Superior Court Monday requesting evidence for discovery.

According to Bowling, several similar requests were made in the case beginning May 12. 2009. Among the requests Bowling made were for the personnel records of every Albemarle police officer who came in contact with the case, stating that he beleived there were “improprieties” in the Albemarle Police Department.

Details concerning the misconduct were not revealed during the hearing Monday, though Bowling referenced two Stanly News and Press articles, one from April 2012 and the other from June of that year.

The first article referenced that a former Albemarle police detective had resigned while a second was on administrative leave after reports of misconduct. The second article Bowling referred to reported that one of the former Albemarle detectives had filed a lawsuit against the city of Albemarle.

“These improprieties border on criminal misconduct,” Bowling said.

Brad Kline, attorney for the city of Albemarle and Albemarle Police Department explained that Bowling’s request was too far reaching.

“The request is too broad. We’re not certain who he’s referring to,” Kline said.

Before the hearing recessed for the day, Bowling disclosed to the court the name of the officer he was requesting information about, though the name was withheld from the public.

Superior Court Judge Mark Klass ruled that Bowling, as well as Assistant District Attorney Marsha Goodenow would be allowed to access the personnel files for the officer in question at the Albemarle Police Department. The hearing was then postponed to later this week to allow all parties time to review new information. A new date and time for the hearing has not been scheduled as of press time.

A bond hearing for Sells will also take place during the recessed hearing.