Johns faces judge in Coffee Co. court

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 17, 2002

News Editor

Charles Kelvin Johns, 41, of Brundidge appeared in an Elba courtroom, before Coffee County District Judge Steven Blair, in connection with the Monday morning hostage situation at the Pike County Courthouse.

During the hearing, Judge Blair told Johns of the charges against him, and bond was set for each charge. According to Pike County Sheriff Russell Thomas, Johns is charged with first degree kidnapping, for which bond was set at $250,000, and carrying a concealed weapon, for which bond was set at $3,000.

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To be released on bond, the sheriff said, Johns must pay at least $50,000 in cash and must appear before Judge Blair again before he can be released.

Around 8:30 Monday morning Johns entered the Pike County Courthouse armed with a 32-caliber revolver and took a female security guard hostage. He had placed his keys on a table where the guard was stationed and walked through the courthouse metal detector, which immediately sounded because of the handgun. Before the guard could react, Johns grabbed her, placed the gun to her head and made his way to the probate judge’s office.

The Pike County Sheriff’s Dept. was immediately notified of the situation. Sheriff Russell and Capt. Doug Wheeler responded and negotiated with Johns, who was demanding to see Probate Judge Bill C. Stone.

Judge Stone later said that Johns’ actions were related a land ownership issue. Johns has been researching land he believes he is entitled to own.

Sheriff Thomas and Capt. Wheeler were successful in freeing the captive security guard in a matter of minutes and immediately placed Johns in custody.

Johns’ possession of the pistol was illegal. According to Sheriff Thomas, he had applied for a pistol permit a few months prior to Monday’s incident, but was denied the permit because of past felony conviction.

Wednesday, during his court appearance, Johns was told because of his prior felony convictions he could be facing habitual offender charges if convicted of the current charges against him. The judge also asked him if the court needed to appoint him an attorney. His family indicated that they would help seek legal council for him.