Death penalty to be sought against suspect in double murder at NHK plant in Frankfort

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CLINTON COUNTY, Ind. — The Clinton County Prosecutor’s announced it will seek the death penalty against the suspect in the murders of a grandmother and granddaughter at the NHK facility.

The Clinton County Prosecutor’s Office has charged 26-year-old Gary C. Ferrell II. with the murders of 21-year-old Promise Mays and 62-year-old Pamela Sledd.

According to investigators, Ferrell was seen on surveillance camera in the NHK parking lot before and during the shooting on Wednesday, August 18.

Ferrell was seen exiting a blue Ford Focus, with its trunk open, while carrying a black object in his right hand that appeared to be a semi-automatic handgun. Police say the Focus was parked next to a black Chevrolet that both Promise Mays and Pamela Sledd were sitting in at the time.

The suspect then opened the Chevrolet’s passenger door and pulled Mays out of the car and took her to the back of his Focus. Sledd is then seen getting out of the driver’s seat of the Chevrolet and has an exchange of words with Ferrell.

Court documents say Ferrell was pointing a gun at Mays and attempting to force her into the trunk. He then is accused of shooting Sledd once and then twice more as she attempts to escape.

Ferrell then pointed his gun at Mays’ head while trying to force her into the trunk, according to investigators. He then shoots her and is then seen getting inside the Focus as she falls to the ground. Police say he backs up and runs over Mays before turning the car and dragging her body for about seven feet. He is then seen leaving the parking lot.

Police responding to the shooting were given a description of the Ford Focus and found a car matching the description heading eastbound on State Road 28. A Clinton County deputy tried to get the driver to pull over, but the vehicle did not come to a stop and instead swerved in and out of traffic before crashing with another motorist.

The deputy ordered the driver to exit the vehicle. He told investigators the driver lit a cigarette and exited the vehicle, complying with the orders. He stopped complying once he was told to lie on his stomach, according to the deputy. The driver remained kneeling instead.

The driver was taken to the Frankfort Police Department where he was identified as Gary C. Ferrell II.

Policed searched the Focus a semi-automatic handgun on the passenger side floor. The gun had a red substance that investigator said could be blood splatter.

A search of the trunk found a bullet inside that had a piece of hair on it. Investigators say there were also possible bone fragments inside the trunk. The trunk’s released handle cord also appeared to have been cut.

Court documents show Ferrell did not have an Indiana handgun license. He applied for one on July 5, 2021 and was sent a letter on August 11, that the application was incomplete.

“My heart dropped, and I felt numb and I was like, why?” explained Mackenzie Walters, the best friend of Promise Mays, “She was an artist. Her art was so incredible, and she was just an amazing best friend.”

Walters remembers Mays as a sweet and funny friend. She’s spoken with the family who she says, are trying their best to process what happened.

“They both were incredible women, the sweetest people you would ever meet,” Walters added.

Ferrell has also been charged with criminal confinement and resisting law enforcement.

The Clinton County Prosecutor’s Office say it is seeking the death penalty because Ferrell did “commit the murder by intentionally killing the victim while committing or attempting to commit the crime of criminal confinement,” according to court documents.

We spoke with local attorney, John Tompkins, of The Law Office of John L. Tompkins. While he’s not commenting on this case specifically, he explained to us that the death penalty procedure starts a life-long procedure for everyone involved.

“A good prosecutor, and the prosecutor in Clinton County is a good prosecutor will make sure that the base of the offense is a solid case before even deciding to go after the enhancement of the death penalty,” said Tompkins, “In very serious situations or multiple deaths when a murder occurs in the course of a major felony being committed – it is always a serious consideration for prosecutors who are faced with those circumstances.”

He also added, “It’s always a difficult decision. Indiana has remarkably progressive procedures in place to protect it from being improperly sought and improperly imposed.”

While Ferrell sits behind bars, the family and friends of Promise and Pamela are looking for justice for their loved ones.

“The criminal justice system is not the system that gets people closure. It gives justice, but closure is something that people have to seek somewhere outside the criminal justice system,” added Tompkins.

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