The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

October 4, 2013

Judge awards bond to Sells in murder case

By Brian Graves, News Editor
CNHI News Service

Friday, October 4, 2013 — After four years in the Stanly County Jail, Gary Winston Sells Sr. was awarded bond for the case in which he is charged with murdering two people.

Sells was charged in 2009 with two counts of first-degree murder following an investigation into the shooting deaths of Shirley Inez Rummage and Ricky Dale Lowder.

Sells' attorney, Kirk Bowling, made the motion to have bail set, saying the defendant’s health precluded him from being a serious flight risk.

“I acknowledge he was charged with escape in 1970, but that was a long time ago,” Bowling said.

Bowling went through a litany of conditions Sells claims to have, including two stints in his heart.

Sells, 76, was in a wheelchair during Thursday’s proceedings.

Assistant District Attorney Marsha Goodenow countered with a list of threats witnesses had claimed Sells had made.

“There are four different people he threatened to kill and two of them are dead,” Goodenow said.

“I don’t mean to be snide, but there is nothing in that (medical) report saying he couldn’t pull a trigger.”

Superior Court Judge Mark Klass awarded a $250,000 conditional bond for Sells.

While out on the bond, Sells will not be able to leave his residence, drink alcohol or have contact with the victims’ families.

He will also be required to wear an electronic monitor, which will be under the direction of the Stanly County Sheriff’s Office.

Bowling said his client was indigent and asked whether the state would pay the fee for the monitoring.

Goodenow won her argument against that, saying it would be like the state paying his bond if that request was granted.

Both attorneys spent a lot of time arguing a web of records, particularly personnel records, Bowling said it is necessary to help prove there was possible misconduct or errors in the case against Sells.

Goodenow called Bowling’s requests “a fishing expedition.”

The judge and both attorneys agreed to meet in a closed session in the judge’s chambers later in the afternoon to review the records in order to keep the personnel records private and to further determine how they will be handled during an open trial.

Brad Kline, attorney for the city of Albemarle and Albemarle Police Department, was also going to participate in that session.

Albemarle Police Chief Bill Halliburton and four police officers were in the courtroom Thursday, having been subpoenaed, but were not called to present any testimony at Thursday’s hearing.

To submit story ideas, contact Brian Graves at (704) 982-2121 ext. 28 or