GATE CITY — A Bristol man was arrested by Sullivan County authorities on murder charges out of Virginia late Friday night after an anonymous tip broke open the investigation of a Christmas Day shooting that occurred in Scott County.
As a result of the case’s new direction, Charlie Joe Ramey, 60, of Bristol, Tenn. was taken into custody on charges of felony murder and grand larceny in the Dec. 25, 2011 shooting death of Gregory Jerome Hale, 49, Scott County Commonwealth’s Attorney Marcus McClung said.
Ramey is expected to be extradited to Virginia on Monday.
Another suspect in the case, Daniel Eugene Norris, 36, of Bristol, is currently incarcerated in Tennessee. His charges will be taken before a Scott County Grand Jury May 7.
Police are still searching for a possible third suspect in the case.
Ramey’s arrest came hours after first-degree murder charges were dropped Friday evening against Brian Mitchell Large, 38, of Nickelsville, following an anonymous tip Virginia State Police and Scott County authorities received the night before.
Large — who has been incarcerated since his arrest Feb. 3 — was released from custody Friday.
Carl Edward Keith, of Nickelsville, a now-discredited eyewitness in the case, was charged with perjury, obstruction of justice and filing a false report after recanting his statement to authorities Friday.
Keith’s eyewitness testimony at an April 5 preliminary hearing led to Large’s case being bound over to a grand jury.
Keith is being held without bond at the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail in Duffield.
McClung said investigators decided to keep the case open following the hearing due to inconsistencies in Keith’s testimony.
“Our job is not to put people in jail all the time, it’s to find the truth, and we remembered that in this case,” McClung said
After receiving a tip Thursday night, McClung said investigators reopened their investigation into Hale’s death.
McClung said a decision was made to arrest Ramey after conducting a search warrant on the Bristol residence he shares with Norris.
“(Hale) was robbed and killed at his home,” McClung said. “We believe that they knew the victim and were acquaintances of the victim and we were able to locate items stolen from the victim in their home.”
Authorities said they believe the shooting was linked to drug activity.
“We have no doubt this was drug related,” McClung said. “That’s how we believe they knew each other.”
Hale was found by a family member in his 302 Addington Frame Road, Nickelsville, residence after being shot twice in the head from close range.
According to testimony from the Scott County coroner, Hale suffered gunshot wounds to the back and side of his head from close range with a small caliber handgun.