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Family: Man was wrongly accused

Photo by Kristen Ralph

Photo by Kristen Ralph

NORCROSS -- Erica Dauge said this past week has been a nightmare for her family.

Ethan Ramey, her fiance and the father of her two young children, has been in jail since Dec. 20 for an act Dauge said was done in self defense. Ramey, 21, faces a felony aggravated assault charge for stabbing a 22-year-old Loganville man.

Dauge and a witness to the incident agree on this: A confrontation that started in the basement of Ramey's home culminated with the stabbing at the top of the basement stairs about 3:30 a.m. Dec. 20. But they don't agree on much else.

In a phone interview Monday, Aaron Sheehan, listed as a witness on the Gwinnett County Police Department incident report, said he was at a sports bar with Harry Heller and Heller's girlfriend when Ramey called and invited them over. They went over to the Norcross house and sat in the basement for about an hour, drinking beer and "kickin' and chillin'," Sheehan said.

Then Heller and Ramey started "slap boxing," and the playful fight turned serious when Heller popped Ramey in the mouth, Sheehan said.

"Let me pop you back," Sheehan said he recalled Ramey saying. Ramey then said he was going to go upstairs and get his gun, Sheehan said.

Sheehan said he urged Ramey to hit him instead, but Ramey started up the stairs, and Heller's girlfriend followed and ran outside.

According to the police report, the girlfriend told police she saw Ramey grab a knife.

Sheehan said he and Heller were still downstairs but decided to go upstairs as well. He said Heller was 10 feet in front of him when Ramey stabbed Heller in the shoulder.

That's when they ran outside and drove away to call the cops, Sheehan said.

"Me and him were covered in blood. I've never seen so much blood," Sheehan said.

"The knife went in so deep. ... That wasn't no self defense. We were trying to leave."

Heller was transported to Gwinnett Medical Center to be treated for his injuries.

Sheehan said his friend was stabbed four times, underwent surgery and received 30 staples and stitches for his wounds. He said Heller was released from the hospital a couple of days later.

Dauge said the details of Sheehan's story don't add up.

Ramey invited them over, and the trio arrived just before 2 a.m., Dauge said. After hanging out in the basement for a while, Dauge said she went upstairs to the living room to watch T.V., where she started to doze off.

"They were all cool," she said. "They were just rapping and freestyling like guys do."

While she was on the couch, she said Heller's girlfriend ran upstairs to tell her the boys were all fighting. Dauge said she went to the basement door, and she saw Ramey, looking distraught and hyperventilating, running up the L-shaped stairs. Heller and Sheehan "were still bum rushing Ethan," she said.

When he reached the top of the stairs, "that's when he finally attacked them back," Dauge said.

Dauge said her fiance did not retrieve a weapon upstairs, but he did keep a knife downstairs to cut "blunts." She said she doesn't believe Ramey threatened to go upstairs and get a gun.

"Ethan doesn't even have a gun," she said. "We have two children. That's not allowed."

Dauge said Ramey told her the fight started during a discussion on gangs. She said Ramey told her Sheehan said he was in a gang, and Ramey responded by saying he doesn't like that kind of stuff.

"That's when Harry swung at him," she said. "He just punched him."

Sheehan also jumped on Ramey, Dauge said, and the two beat her fiance bloody.

"Ethan's blood is all over the floor downstairs," she said. "It's just not adding up at all."

Dauge said this is the first time Ramey has been arrested, and jail records indicate this is his only incarceration in Gwinnett.

Heller, however, has been arrested four times in Gwinnett since 2006, most recently in March for probation violation. Sheehan has been jailed several times in Gwinnett and DeKalb counties on charges including aggravated assault and terroristic threats. He was most recently arrested in Gwinnett in November on a failure to appear charge.

Heller could not be reached for comment Monday.