Pubdate: Tue, 20 Aug 2002
Source: Decatur Daily (AL)
Copyright: 2002 The Decatur Daily
Author: Holly Hollman, Daily Staff Writer


Sheriff Calls Incident Drug Deal Gone Bad

ATHENS -- Sheriff Mike Blakely said a drug deal that went bad led to 
someone shooting an alleged Limestone County drug dealer in the neck, 
paralyzing him.

Blakely said his office previously has arrested the victim, Shay Farris, 
23, of 21134 Mitchell Lane, Athens, for drug-related crimes.

He is in stable but critical condition today at Huntsville Hospital. Chief 
Investigator Stanley McNatt said he is paralyzed from the chest down.

As of this morning, Maurio Thatch, 22, of 1700 Old Madison Pike, Madison, 
was the only arrest.

He was arrested for first-degree criminal mischief for allegedly setting a 
getaway car on fire.

The sheriff said Farris was allegedly operating a drug house at his current 
home, west of Athens in the Cross Key community.

Investigators have conducted surveillance on Farris' home looking for 
possible drug activity, the sheriff said.

Officers had to contend with nine chained pit bulls to get inside the home 
after the early afternoon shooting Monday. While investigating the scene, 
officers found drugs and money in a vehicle in the carport.

"The Lord works in mysterious ways," Blakely said of the drug find.

Investigators found four ounces of cocaine worth about $4,000 plus $4,760 
cash. Investigators also found Zoloft, a prescription anti-depressant, at 
the residence. The victim's girlfriend said a doctor gave her Zoloft 
samples, Blakely said.

Charges Pending

The sheriff said his office could charge Farris and his girlfriend for drug 
possession, but no charges had been filed early today.

Blakely said Farris and his girlfriend were uncooperative during 
questioning. Farris was conscious after the shooting but wouldn't give many 
details about the incident, Blakely said.

Farris' brother, Corey Farris, also was at the scene, but said he arrived 
after getting a call that someone shot his brother. Corey Farris told 
Blakely he didn't know about the drugs.

During the apparent drug deal with four individuals, someone shot Farris in 
the neck and leg, Blakely said. The sheriff said Farris appeared to be shot 
with a handgun.

After the shooting, Blakely said he wasn't sure what went wrong with the 
deal. He didn't know if Farris fired a shot or if there was only one shooter.

4 Suspects Sought

Authorities were searching for four suspects in Decatur. Farris' 
girlfriend, who was at the home during the drug deal, said three black men 
and a black female were involved. She said they left in a gray Chrysler 
Fifth Avenue with a Morgan County tag.

"We believe we know the identity of the female, and we're trying to find 
her," Blakely said.

Chief Investigator Stanley McNatt said the four suspects left Farris' home 
in a gray Chrysler Fifth Avenue. They took it to Sportsman's Park off 
Lentzville Road and got a ride.

Three people, including the female owner and Thatch, went back to burn the 
car, McNatt said. The female tried to report the car missing about 6 p.m.

"That was about the same time we learned it was on fire," McNatt said.

Authorities have not charged the female with a crime.

The female told investigators she thought something bad happened in her 
car, and she wanted to burn it so authorities couldn't trace it to her, 
Blakely said.
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