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Bond lowered for stabbing suspect

Photo by Kristen Ralph

Photo by Kristen Ralph

LAWRENCEVILLE -- During a preliminary hearing Tuesday, a judge agreed to reduce the bond for a Norcross man accused of aggravated assault.

The judge lowered Ethan Ramey's bond from $25,000 to $20,000. Ramey, 21, has been in jail since he was arrested Dec. 20 on the felony charge. Ramey is accused of stabbing Loganville resident Harry Heller, 22.

The attorney said Ramey's family was about $3,000 short of making the bond, with the surcharges. He said Ramey, a father of two young children, is employed and that the lifelong Georgia resident has no prior criminal record in the state.

During the hearing, Gwinnett County Police Department Detective Mark Matesevac testified that a kitchen knife sitting in a cup of water in the sink was taken as evidence. No other weapons were found in Ramey's home, which is where the stabbing happened.

Matesevac said he was the on-call detective that day. He said he was first called about 4 a.m. Dec. 20 to a gas station at Beaver Ruin Road and Indian Trail-Lilburn Road, where he spoke to witnesses to the incident.

Matesevac said one of the witnesses, Aaron Sheehan, said Ramey invited him over to his house. Sheehan was already with Harry Heller and Christina Middleton, and the three of them went to Ramey's home, where the three men sat in the basement and drank alcohol, the detective testified.

The detective said Sheehan told him Ramey and Heller started to "slap box," a form of playful fighting, and after Heller slapped Ramey too hard, Ramey ran upstairs and ran back downstairs with a kitchen knife and stabbed Heller in the basement.

Matesevac said Sheehan told him he saw Ramey with a knife and witnessed a slight struggle that ended up in a back room in the basement, but he did not see Heller get stabbed.

Heller suffered two stab wounds, one in the upper back and one in the chest, and a cut on his arm, Matesevac said. The detective said he did not get a statement from Heller, who was transported to the hospital for treatment.

Matesevac said Middleton, the other witness, said she got scared and ran outside to her car.

The detective said Ramey chose not to give a statement at the time of his arrest.

Matesevac's testimony differed slightly from the narrative of a Gwinnett County Police Department incident report, which states: "Mr. Shehann (sic) also stated that during the slap boxing Mr. Ramey went upstairs, Ms Middleton followed Mr. Ramey upstairs, and Mr. Heller followed Ms. Middleton upstairs. Then about one minute later Mr. Heller came running down the stairs saying that Mr. Ramey just stabbed him."

Matesevac said Sheehan appeared to be intoxicated while talking to him.

"When I was talking to him, he was trashed, for lack of a better word," Matesevac said. "I couldn't tell if that was his mental state of if he was intoxicated."

Ramey's attorney presented no evidence during the preliminary hearing.