Two more men questioned in P & P robbery shooting - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Two more men questioned in P & P robbery shooting

By Jim Wallace - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –Two more Albany men wanted for questioning in the shooting of a hardware store owner are in custody.

17 year old Ryan Richardson and 22 year old Roderick Ferrell surrendered to police Thursday morning.  Investigators have not formally charged them with a crime.

We have learned that Richardson used to work at P and P Garden and Hardware Center, and is out on bond awaiting trial for an armed robbery in 2009. A co-defendant in that case is charged with shooting hardware store owner Walter Phelps.

Jordan Harris, who is charged with shooting Walter Phelps in the back, was out on bond and was wearing an electronic house arrest monitor when he was arrested this week. Now the District Attorney has launched an investigation into who was supposed to be monitoring Harris.

17 year old Ryan Richardson worked at the P and P Garden Center in June, shelling peas. Now Police are questioning him about the July 3rd robbery of the store, during which Walter Phelps was gunned down without warning. Richardson is awaiting trial for armed robbery of the Title Bucks in February 2009.

The man now charged with shooting Phelps, Jordan Harris, is also charged with that robbery and a convenience store robbery in Lee County.

Harris was granted bond in April 2009 by Judge Willie Lockette, but was required to wear an electronic monitor. Harris was wearing that monitor when he was arrested this week. But Police say Harris is caught on surveillance video using Phelps charge card in Lake Park just 3 hours after the robbery, so obviously that device was not being monitored. The District Attorney says he will investigate what happened, and whether electronic monitoring can protect the community.

Dougherty District Attorney Greg Edwards said "I can tell you that this case probably will be a motivation for that. We're going to look at making sure that it's in play."

The D.A. says at first glance there appears to have been a mix up between Lee and Dougherty County probation officials.

Edwards said "If there is any miscue anywhere it's most likely between the two counties and the orders by the respective courts on the bond."

The D.A. says his office always opposes bond for any person charged with a violent crime, but Judges are using electronic monitors more to keep people awaiting trial out of jail and save taxpayer money. But at what cost?

Edwards said "The places of confinement for our violent offenders, they have to be part of our public safety priority. And that has to be the priority."

Ryan Richardson was also ordered to wear an electronic monitoring device when he was released on bond, but that device was removed January 6th.

Sheriff Kevin Sproul said a Lee County monitoring organization removed Harris' monitor when he was locked up in the Dougherty County jail this week. Lee County probation officials say Harris is not on probation there, and they had no monitoring unit on him. Dougherty County companies say they did not put the device on Harris.

Judge Lockette is at the Judge's conference at St. Simons Island, and we could not contact him.

Sheriff Sproul said that every citizen should be concerned about people charged with violent crimes being released on bond, and welcomes the D.A.'s investigation.

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