Accused Peach County deputy killer has first court appearance
Ralph Stanley Elrod Jr., the Byron man charged with murder in the shooting deaths of two Peach County deputies, shuffled into a courtroom at the Bibb County jail Wednesday afternoon.
Having traded a hospital gown for an orange jail jumpsuit, the 57-year-old Elrod was handcuffed. His feet were shackled.
He didn’t say much during his first appearance in front of a judge since being charged with a second count of murder.
When asked if he had a lawyer, Elrod responded that he didn’t.
The judge asked if he wanted to be interviewed by the public defender’s office to see if he qualifies for its services, Elrod said, “Yes, sir.”
He stood still while the judge informed him of his rights.
In all, the hearing lasted just a couple of minutes.
With Elrod not having a lawyer, it’s unclear when he could appear in court again to request bond.
He is charged with two counts of murder in the Nov. 6 fatal shooting of Deputy Daryl Smallwood and Sgt. Patrick Sondron.
The deputies had gone to Elrod’s house on the west side of Byron to talk with him about a complaint that he had threatened a neighbor’s nephews who had been riding a four-wheeler and a motorcycle in front of his home.
A few seconds into a conversation with Elrod, Sondron reached out as if he was going to take Elrod into custody and Elrod pulled a handgun from his waistband. He shot the deputies before going back inside his house, authorities have said.
When more officers arrived, Elrod came out of his garage carrying a rifle and wearing a bulletproof vest. He was wounded in a shootout with police and was taken to a local hospital.
Sondron died soon after the shooting.
On Nov. 8, Superior Court Judge Howard Simms went to the hospital where Elrod was receiving treatment for being shot to preside over his first appearance hearing relating to the murder count pertaining to Sondron’s death.
Smallwood died Nov. 8.
Elrod wasn’t served a murder warrant relating to Smallwood’s death until his discharge from the hospital.
Information from Telegraph archives was used in this story.