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News D.A. to seek death penalty for Fouts

Randy Boyd FoutsThe district attorney will seek the death penalty for the man accused of a brutal murder last year in the Cartoogechaye community of Macon County.

In a special session of Superior Court last week, assistant district attorney Ashley Hornsby Welch made official her office’s intention to seek capital punishment for Randy Boyd Fouts, 44, who in May was indicted by grand jury for one count of murder in the death of Thomas Larry Ramsey.

Ramsey, who was 61 at the time of his death, was found at his Johnson Road home in the Cartoogechaye community on the morning of Aug. 12. According to his autopsy report, Ramsey died from strangulation by asphyxiation and blunt force trauma to the head. The victim had also reportedly been bound by the hands and feet with electrical chord.

The initial 9-1-1 call was made by a woman who claimed that she was at Ramsey’s residence. Authorities were unable to identify the body when they first arrived on scene. According to early reports by emergency services, the woman explained in the call that when she arrived at the residence, the door was busted open and a man’s body was laying on the floor.

The investigation, which was pursued jointly by the District Attorney’s Office, Macon County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) and the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI), did not release the names of any suspects until Fouts was arrested in May.

Though no additional information has been provided on the case, the Emergency 9-1-1 tape and Search Warrant from August 2010 were ordered to be unsealed at Fouts’ first appearance and those records are now available through the custodians of those records. According to an earlier statement by the MCSO, numerous items of evidence have been analyzed by the SBI lab and other items are under review.

The special Rule 24 hearing on the state’s case was presided over by Superior Court Judge James U. Downs. A Rule 24 hearing is one in which the prosecution is required to say in court whether or not the state is going to seek the death penalty in a first-degree murder case.

Fouts, who is being held without bond, was present at the hearing, as were his attorneys, Al Messer and David Belser.

The court order from the Rule 24 hearing confirms the state’s intention to pursue capital punishment in the case. The state alleges that Fouts murdered Ramsey in the commission of or as an abettor to another violent crime, that his motive was financial gain and that the murder was especially “heinous, atrocious, or cruel.”


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