A crowd stood of officers and journalists stood outside waiting for a K-9 unit to search the inside of the building. A deputy held a metal detector while another inspected all bags entering the building.
Tamika Bumpass is escorted into Columbia County Magistrate Court for a pretrial hearing on charges including forgery and making terroristic threats.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Security was tight for the first public appearance of a woman accused of shooting Columbia County deputy Glenda Shelton.
Tamika Bumpass, 23, was escorted to the Columbia County Magistrate Court hearing by three cars. She was secured with various shackles and said nothing before, during or after the hearing, for which Judge Wade Padgett presided over.
Though she remained silent, plenty was said about the circumstances surrounding her original charges of forgery and the charges resulting from April 19, when she is accused of shooting Deputy Shelton and escaping into woods off Wrightsboro Road.
At the end of the hour and a half hearing, Judge Padgett ruled enough evidence existed to send the case before a grand jury and that Bumpass is to remain in custody because she poses a risk of flight.
Before the hearing could begin, deputies arrested Darren Thomas, a man believed to be Bumpass' boyfriend, and charged him with several counts of forgery and obstruction of a law enforcement officer.
Authorities would not say if his arrest was in any way connected to Bumpass' original arrest.
The evidence presented consists of 16 warrants that accuse Bumpass of a gamut of things from identity fraud to aggravated assault.
The first part of the hearing dealt with her April 16 arrest in front of the Martinez Mail Boxes Etc. where Investigator Ken Summers testified Bumpass was found with checks and credit cards she obtained using two different identities.
"She had approximately eight different names with 11 different (identification) cards," Summers said during the hearing.
Summers answered several questions from District Attorney Danny Craig, Judge Padgett and Bumpass' court appointed lawyer Bill Davison.
Along with the checks and cards found in her mail box, Summers said Bumpass admitted owning a bag containing check books from four different banks, a notebook listening several account numbers, tax forms and $6,200 in $100 bills.
After answering questions for close to 45 minutes, Summers was allowed to leave the stand. Next up came Investigator Teresa Charney, who testified about the details surrounding the shooting of Deputy Shelton.
Darren Thomas, who is thought to be the boyfriend Bumpass was removed from the courthouse before the hearing and arrested.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Though the story has been relived several times, Charney was able to provide greater insight into how Bumpass and Shelton struggled before the gun went off and how Bumpass was able to obtain a truck from a witness who stopped to help.
Charney testified Bumpass told Shelton she needed more air and complaining of an accelerated heart beat. Shelton turned the air up and raised the plexiglass partition to allow the air to reach Bumpass, Charney said.
Bumpass, who slid her hands out of the hand cuffs, dove through the partition, getting her upper half through. She was able to gain control of the weapon and hit Shelton with it several times in the face, Charney said.
During the struggle, Charney said the gun fell to the floor board of the van. A race to the weapon ended with Bumpass again getting control and threatening to kill Shelton.
At some point doing the chaos, Shelton was shot once just under the left armpit.
"Neither heard the weapon go off," Charney said.
While the two women were fighting for control of the gun, a man in a white pickup truck pulled up behind the van and saw two females fighting, Charney said.
He immediately went to the middle of the road and tried to stop oncoming traffic to get some help. Charney said he turned back to where his truck was and saw Bumpass speeding off in it.
When asked about the interior of the van, Charney said there was some blood on the dash board and "hair all over."
After hearing the testimony of both investigators, Padgett listened to both lawyers discuss the issue of charges. Davison moved that the hijacking and making terroristic threats be dropped.
Padgett said testimony clearly showed that Bumpass had threatened Shelton's life but agreed with Davison that the witness didn't know Bumpass was armed.
Pagett dismissed the charge of hijacking, which brought with it a maximum of 20 years.
The next stop for this case is the grand jury. Craig said he plans to seek indictments next week. Columbia County Superior Court records show the grand jury is scheduled to meet on May 8. It is not yet known if Graig will present the case then.
What is certain is that Bumpass will have the services of a Chattanooga, Tenn. law firm. Lee Davis of Davis and Wallace was on hand Wednesday and said his firm will hire a local lawyer to help represent Bumpass.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.