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2 suspects in Ronnie Gammage slaying moved to Upshur County jail

By Richard Yeakley
Dec. 27, 2012 at 11 p.m.


Two people charged with capital murder in the kidnapping and slaying of Ronnie Joe Gammage were transferred Thursday to the Upshur County Jail.

Sarah Haslam, 20, and Daniel Jones, 19, both of Longview were transferred Thursday to Upshur County from the Gregg County Jail, where they had been held since their arrests Dec. 19.

A third suspect, Andrew Norwine, 21, a U.S. Army private assigned to Fort Polk in Leesville, La., signed a waiver of extradition from the Vernon Parish Jail on Thursday allowing his transfer to Gilmer.

Norwine was arrested by military police Tuesday.

Norwine was held on a charge of capital murder and a $1 million bond. Haslam and Jones were each held on bonds totaling $1.3 million - $1 million for the charge of capital murder and $300,000 for a charge of aggravated kidnapping.

The capital murder charge was initiated from Upshur County because Gammage died there, said Upshur County District Attorney Billy Byrd - although the crime spree began in Gregg County with Gammage's kidnapping, police said.

According to probable cause affidavits for the arrest of Haslam and Jones, Gammage, who was mentally disabled, was lured by the trio into a vehicle Dec. 5 and driven to a construction site in Gregg County, where he was beaten.

After being beaten, he was loaded into a vehicle and driven to rural Upshur County where he was beaten, killed and his body burned, according to police records. His body was found Dec. 19.

Byrd said he and Gregg County District Attorney Carl Dorrough worked together the night of Dec. 19 to determine which county had legal jurisdiction in the capital murder charge.

Byrd said the death penalty has not been ruled out as a possible sentence.

"It's really too early to say, but that is certainly an option and one of the possible sentences for the action," Byrd said.

"Right now the focus is establishing a strong case so you can prosecute effectively."

During Upshur County's last capital murder case - in 2010 - Byrd said the county received a state grant for $100,000 to help with the cost of prosecuting the case.

That trial, against Miguel Espinal-Gomez, ended in a plea deal of life imprisonment without parole.

The case against the Gammage suspects will next be heard by an Upshur County grand jury.

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