Crime

Man accused of killing 2 Peach County deputies jailed in Bibb

Ralph Stanley Elrod
Ralph Stanley Elrod

Ralph Stanley Elrod Jr., a 57-year-old Byron man accused of fatally shooting two Peach County sheriff’s deputies Nov. 6, was booked in the Bibb County jail about 3 p.m. Tuesday.

Elrod, who had been hospitalized since the incident, is charged with fatally shooting 39-year-old Deputy Daryl Smallwood and 41-year-old Sgt. Patrick Sondron after the pair of lawmen responded to his Hardison Road house regarding a dispute between neighbors that day.

Bibb County Superior Court Judge Howard Simms went to the hospital Nov. 8 to preside over Elrod’s first appearance hearing, said District Attorney David Cooke, who also was present. Peach County is included in the Macon judicial circuit along with Bibb and Crawford counties.

When the lawmen went to Elrod’s house on the west side of Byron that Sunday, his home security system captured their encounter on video. GBI officials have said the deputies had come to talk to Elrod because of a complaint he had threatened a neighbor’s nephews who had been riding a four-wheeler and a motorcycle up and down a road in front of Elrod’s home.

J.T. Ricketson, special agent in charge of the GBI in Perry talks about the actions of suspect, Ralph Stanley Elrod in the shootings of Peach County sheriff's Sgt. Patrick Sondron and deputy Daryl Smallwood at Elrod's residence.

It appeared the deputies had a conversation with Elrod that lasted maybe five to 15 seconds. At some point, it appeared Sondron reached out as if he was going to take Elrod into custody. Authorities said Elrod pulled a handgun from his waistband and shot the deputies before going back inside his house.

When more officers arrived, Elrod reportedly came out of the garage toting a rifle and wearing a bullet-proof vest.

He was wounded in a barrage with law enforcement and taken for treatment at the Medical Center, Navicent Health, where Sondron was pronounced dead the same night. Two days later, Smallwood also was pronounced dead.

Peach Sheriff Terry Deese has said his deputies had been to Elrod’s house in the past regarding complaints he had made about neighbors riding four-wheelers.

Elrod, who grew up in Macon and is a licensed electrical contractor, moved with his wife in 2012 to their Byron home at the edge of a pecan orchard. Elrod’s son is a sheriff’s deputy in Jones County. On his mailbox was a thin blue line sticker, a sign typically displayed in appreciation and support for law enforcement.

Hundreds of mourners gathered at North Peach Park for candlelight vigil for Peach County sheriff Sgt. Patrick Sondron and deputy Daryl Smallwood Tuesday night.

Telegraph writer Amy Leigh Womack contributed to this report. Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report.

Laura Corley: 478-744-4334, @Lauraecor

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