A man with a “big knife” was caught earlier this week, puncturing tires on nearly two dozen cars in an exclusive Putnam County neighborhood where an elderly couple was slain last year, authorities said Friday.
Ryan Oliver Glenn, 34, who was living with his father in the Great Waters subdivision on Lake Oconee, was jailed early Wednesday on numerous charges of criminal damage, terroristic threats and obstruction.
Sheriff Howard Sills said deputies were called to the neighborhood about 3 a.m. Wednesday because a man with a knife was slashing tires. The gated community there east of Ga. 44 lies about a dozen miles northeast of Eatonton.
When deputies got there, Sills said they chased Glenn after he tossed aside the knife, which had a 10-inch blade, and one deputy later tackled Glenn on a golf course fairway.
Glenn, who has been in prison twice since 2011 for battery and aggravated assault, among other crimes, was staying with his father on Beech Haven Lane.
Glenn’s father’s place is less than a mile from the Carolyn Drive home where unsolved-murder victims Shirley and Russell Dermond lived and were likely killed in May 2014.
Russell Dermond, 88, was decapitated, his body left lying on the floor of a carport. Shirley, his 87-year-old wife, was found dead, weighted down and sunk in Lake Oconee, days later.
The high-profile case has since baffled investigators and left area residents uneasy.
“There appears to be no connection with the Dermond murders at this time,” Sills said of Glenn. “But obviously here we have a man with a criminal record running around with a knife. Obviously we’re gonna look into his background.”
Sills added, “This is really the first crime we’ve had in (Great Waters) since the Dermond murders.”
The unemployed Glenn has ties to Florida and the Atlanta area, which the Dermonds did as well.
Asked if Glenn might be a suspect in the couple’s deaths, Sills said, “I doubt it. I really do.”
Still, the sheriff said he wants to know where Glenn was around the time the Dermonds were slain, whether Glenn perhaps was in jail -- which he apparently wasn’t -- or living in metro Atlanta.
“He’s got prior incidents with knives,” Sills said. “He’s a knife guy, but he’s a nutjob. His daddy says he’s insane, but he’s never been adjudicated as unfit to stand trial.”
The sheriff said that prior to Wednesday morning’s caper, Glenn’s most recent run-in with the law involved a quarrel with his wife in Gwinnett County.
Sills said Glenn led Putnam deputies on a high-speed car chase in 2005, but that was the only time Glenn had been jailed in Eatonton.
Wednesday’s uproar began a few hours before daybreak.
A man who lives in Great Waters, a 600-parcel compound with a Jack Nicklaus golf course, called 911 after his barking dog woke him about 3 a.m.
“He gets up ... looks outside and sees this guy clad only in a pair of red shorts with a big knife in his hands,” Sills said.
The resident later noticed that his car’s tires had been cut.
And his car wasn’t the only one. In all, some 20 automobiles had their tires flattened -- none of them with fewer than two tires slashed, most with all four cut.
Deputies began searching for the knife-wielding man.
They heard him before they saw him.
“They were actually able to track him through the neighborhood by hearing the tires he was popping as they deflated,” Sills said.
A deputy spotted Glenn and ordered him to stop, but Glenn tossed the knife and bolted, the sheriff said. On a nearby golf course, another deputy caught up with Glenn and tackled him.
Sills said Glenn, combative and unruly while in custody, kicked a window out of a patrol car.
At his first-appearance hearing in court on Thursday, Glenn blamed the episode on alcohol.
“He said this is what happens when you drink,” Sills said.
Glenn is on probation for a July 2014 incident in Gwinnett in which he made terroristic threats and tangled with police. His conviction and four-year sentence landed him in prison from April of this year until early July.
The sheriff said Glenn’s prison term stipulated a year behind bars followed by outpatient treatment for addiction.
At some point during the summer, Glenn moved in with his dad in Great Waters.
But Sills said Glenn never reported to his probation officer in Putnam County, at which point Gwinnett authorities were notified.
Meanwhile, Sills said, “This man, having many previous problems, was ravaging my community. And perhaps had (Gwinnett) signed a warrant for him ... this might not have occurred.”
To contact writer Joe Kovac Jr., call 744-4397.