BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The District Attorney’s investigation into the Blount County Sheriff’s Office proved they did not intentionally violate a judge’s orders, after their jail released a man on bond who later ended up dead along with his wife.
Just a few days before the death of Susie and Ricky McKee, a circuit court judge ordered that Ricky be held at Blount County Jail on no bond. The night before, he had shown up at Susie’s house with a gun and was arrested and charged with domestic violence third degree.
This timeline, given to us by District Attorney Pamela Casey, says that a hard copy of the order of no bond from the circuit court judge was placed in an outbox for sheriff’s deputies to pick up. However, that paper was put in the outbox after 10 a.m. BCSO sends a deputy once a day to pick up papers, but that was at 8 a.m. - two hours earlier.
The order didn’t make it to the sheriff’s office until Monday, the day after Susie and Ricky McKee were found dead. A district court judge granted Ricky a $2,500 bond on Friday.
“I just immediately was sickened. My stomach automatically went into knots,” says Blount County Sheriff Mark Moon.
Sheriff Moon says after they responded to the double homicide, they looked everywhere for the order.
“They just began tearing the office apart, tearing vehicles apart, interviewing corrections officers, trying to find any information that we could find," Moon said.
Now, four crucial changes are being made to make sure this never happens again:
1. The sheriff’s office will notify any victim of domestic violence when their offender is released on bond.
2. The sheriff’s office will provide incident offense reports to the judge for review before they set bonds at the jail.
3. A deputy will check the outbox at the courthouse more than once a day.
4. Circuit court clerks will email the sheriff’s office telling them what orders to be on the lookout for.
“I hate to say it but the truth is you don’t really know something’s a problem until it becomes a problem. You know, there’s nothing I’m going to say that is going to make anybody feel better, but our department, our county is devastated and heartbroken over this," says Sheriff Moon.
The sheriff’s office has also been given pamphlets to hand out to domestic violence victims giving them ways to find help.