Accused cop killer prefers death to life in prison

( HOHENWALD, Tenn.) -- The 18-year-old who has admitted killing a Hohenwald police officer says the death penalty would be better than rotting in prison.

"I am probably going to get the death penalty anyway," Ricky Grayson told The Daily Herald of Columbia in an interview on Nov. 29. "It's my life, but it is better than sitting and rotting in prison for the rest of my life. My life is over because of one mistake."

Grayson confessed to fatally shooting Alan Ragsdale, who was killed Nov. 27 when he and Lewis County Deputy Evan Ward investigated a silent burglar alarm at a motorcycle dealership.

Maury County Sheriff Enoch George said Grayson was moved from the Lewis County jail to the Maury County Jail for security reasons, since he had killed an officer in Lewis County.

Grayson was denied bond and a preliminary hearing is scheduled in Lewis County General Sessions Court on Dec. 5.

"They have me in here like I am some kind of bad person, and I am not. I know I did wrong, but please put me to rest. I don't want to sit in prison for the rest of my life. My life is over anyway," Grayson said.

Grayson, who is charged with first-degree murder, said he wished he had been shot instead of Ragsdale.

Grayson said he went to the dealership early Monday morning to burglarize it and had a Ruger .44-caliber revolver that a friend had bought for him at a pawnshop.

"I don't know why I went that night or what was so important. I was stupid," he said.

Grayson said he fired through the front window as Ragsdale walked away, but he didn't mean to hit him.

"I just wanted to scare them away so I could get out of there and go home. I didn't even know I hit him until I saw on the news that he had died," Grayson told The Daily Herald.

Ward, who was not injured, called for help for Ragsdale, who died later at a hospital. Grayson escaped out of the back door and said he ran back to the house where he was staying two blocks away.

"I should have dropped the gun right then and let them arrest me. It wasn't premeditated or anything like that. I'm not a killer," Grayson said.

Dist. Atty. Ron Davis said when Tennessee Bureau of Investigation agents, Hohenwald police officers and Lewis County deputies came to arrest him, Grayson ran about a block and officers had to tackle him as he struggled.

Grayson says he put up his hands and let them know he would not fight, but says the law officers hit him in the face and broke his wrist.

Lewis County Sheriff Dwayne Kilpatrick said Grayson was not intentionally mistreated or beaten. The nurse at the Lewis County Jail and an ambulance crew from Maury Regional Hospital examined him and did not find any serious injuries or broken bones, Kilpatrick said.

Grayson said he is sorry for what his mother, Cheryl Gaines, is going through now.

"My sister had a little boy a few days ago, and I haven't gotten to talk to her," he said.

"I have been saved, and I know I will go to heaven," Grayson said. "I just pray to God that he knows what kind of person I am. I never meant to hurt anyone."

Grayson said he is sorry for what he has done to Ragsdale's family.

"They probably don't want to hear anything I have to say, but I am so sorry. I messed their whole life up," he said.

Man Charged In Cop Killing Prefers Death To Life In Jail
The Associated Press
Copyright 2000 The Commercial Appeal
The Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
December 2, 2000, Saturday, First Edition
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