Murder trials of three to be held in Upshur County
Dec 30, 2012 | 4330 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Three people charged with capital murder in the homicide of Ronnie Joe Gammage, 27, of Longview, will be tried in Upshur County on the murder charges, District Attorney Billy Byrd said Wednesday.

They also face charges of aggravated kidnapping in Gregg County. Gammage , who was described as mentally handicapped, had been forcibly abducted in Longview.

Gammage’s beaten and burned body was found Dec. 19 near the intersection of Martin Lane and Mockingbird Road in southeast Upshur County.

Two suspects, Sarah Haslam, 20, and Daniel Jones, 19, of Longview were arrested Dec. 19 and charged with aggravated kidnapping and capital murder.

Longview police reports at the time said that they led authorities to Gammage’s body, and that one had cut Gammage’s throat to kill him.

The pair had been arrested after authorities released a surveillance video from the drive-thru at Gilmer National Bank, where they allegedly tried to cash a $400 check on Gammage’s account there on Dec. 4. The request was refused by a teller, based on insufficient funds.

At the time, the third suspect was not identified, but a warrant was issued for him.

Gammage had been in the bank and made a withdrawal shortly before they tried to cash the check on his account, police said.

The third suspect, Andrew Conrad Norwine, 21, of Arlington was arrested by military police at Fort Polk, La., about 1 a.m. Christmas Day and turned over to the Vernon Parish, La., Sheriff’s Office on the outstanding Upshur County capital murder warrant. He is a soldier assigned to Fort Polk. He was held there under $1 million bond, awaiting extradition to Texas.

Bonds on the others were set at $1.3 million each, and they were jailed in Gregg County.

According to Longview probable cause warrants, the trio slashed a tire on Gammage’s pickup while it was parked at a Longview restaurant, then tricked him into accepting a ride, allegedly to get a tire for his truck.

Arrest affidavits said that Gammaged was beaten and murdered before suspects attempted to burn and hide his body at the Upshur County location.

The Gilmer police were involved in the investigation at Gilmer National Bank and Upshur County deputies went with Longview police to the site was the body was located.

Byrd said that evidence is continuing to be gathered and there is “still a lof of work to be done” before trial can be set.

“There are many decisions to be made,” he said. He said there is “still a lot of information to get back” from the forensics lab.

Byrd said the three had declared they are indigent, and asked Judge Parish to appoint attorneys for them.

That was proceeding, but not done, as of Thursday morning.
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