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Clinton County prosecutor seeking death penalty in NHK slayings

Promise and Pam.jpg
Posted at 11:28 AM, Aug 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-20 16:39:44-04

Warning: This story contains graphic descriptions of violence.

CLINTON COUNTY — Clinton County Prosecutor Anthony J. Sommer is seeking the death penalty against a man accused of gunning down two women at the NHK factory near Frankfort.

Sommer on Friday filed two notices of intent to seek the death penalty against Gary Cecil Ferrell II, who is accused of killing Pamela Sledd, 62, and her granddaughter, Promise Mays, 21, in the NHK parking lot Wednesday.

Promise and Pam.jpg
Promise Mays, 21, and Pamela Sledd, 62.

Ferrell, 26, attempted to abduct Mays before he shot both women, according to court documents. He was arrested Wednesday after a short pursuit, police said.

The women were arriving to work their shift at the plant when prosecutors say Ferrell ambushed and killed them. Ferrell was also employed at NHK, police said.

According to a probable cause affidavit filed Friday in Clinton Superior Court:

NHK security cameras show Ferrell's blue Ford Focus parked next to a black Chevrolet that carried Sledd and Mays as they arrived to work at the plant after 4 p.m. Wednesday.

The video shows the Focus's trunk pop open before Ferrell gets out of the vehicle with a semi-automatic gun in his hand, the affidavit said.

Ferrell, the video shows, then walks to the passenger side of the Chevrolet and pulls Mays out of the passenger seat.

"Ferrell grabs Promise by her right arm with his left arm and pulls her to the rear of the blue Ford," Clinton County Prosecutor's Office Investigator Brendon Bright wrote in the affidavit. "Promise appears to try and pull back on Ferrell but she is over powered."

Sledd got out of the Chevrolet's driver's seat and exchanged words with Ferrell. Ferrell, the affidavit said, moved the hand carrying the gun and pointed it towards the factory.

The video shows Ferrell pointing the gun at Mays as he tries to force her into the Ford Focus' trunk.

Sledd, meanwhile, was seen on the video moving away when Ferrell fired one shot, followed by two more before Sledd collapses to the ground, according to the affidavit.

"Ferrell then has the gun pointed at Promise's head and is still trying to force Promise into the trunk of his vehicle," Bright wrote in the affidavit. "Promise at this point is in a crouched type position."

The video shows Ferrell shoot Mays, Bright wrote, who then "falls to the ground behind the Ford Focus and lies motionless."

Ferrell got back into the Focus without closing the trunk. He backed over Mays and dragged her about seven feet before driving out of the parking lot, the affidavit said.

Police were looking for the suspect's blue Ford Focus when Clinton County Sheriff's Office Deputy Dennis Tillman saw Ferrell driving east on Ind. 28, the affidavit said. Ferrell led officers on a car chase that ended when he crashed into another vehicle.

"Deputy Tillman immediately exited and yelled numerous times for the subject to get out of the car and to show his hands," Bright wrote in the affidavit. "The male driver at that time lit a cigarette and exited the vehicle, slowly complying with the lawful orders."

Ferrell passively followed police orders until the very end when "he did not comply and was assisted to his stomach," Bright wrote.

Ferrell and the victims all worked at the NHK factory, which manufactures automotive seats and safety units for Subaru of Indiana Automotive in Lafayette, according to its website. It employs about 700 people.

Authorities have not said what relationship, if any, there had been between Ferrell and the women he allegedly killed.

Ferrell, records show, appeared for an initial hearing Friday before Clinton Superior Court Judge Justin Hunter. A jury trail was scheduled for Feb. 24, but could be delayed.

Contact WRTV reporter Vic Ryckaert at victor.ryckaert@wrtv.com or on Twitter: @vicryc.