Courthouse kidnapper indicted

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 17, 2003

Charles Kelvin Johns was convicted by the grand jury that convened Feb. 10 and will now stand trial for first degree kidnapping. Johns, a Brundidge native, faces charges stemming from an incident on Jan. 14, 2001, where he is alleged to have entered the Pike County Courthouse around 8:30 a.m. and produced a firearm. Witnesses said Johns took the security guard hostage and demanded to see Probate Judge Bill Stone.

Sheriff Russell Thomas talked Johns into releasing the security guard and was honored by the Pike County Commission at a ceremony several weeks later. Stone was quoted at the time as saying Johns was upset about a land ownership dispute.

The case is just one of several indictments issued by the grand jury that convened Feb. 10.

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&uot;We had a 36 page docket and pared it down and narrowed it by 60 percent,&uot; said District Attorney Gary McAliley. &uot;We were backlogged and are now brining it all back up to speed. The lawyers are coming in on a regular basis now.&uot;

McAliley's office will be in charge of prosecuting the cases, which include numerous sex abuse cases and a handful of robberies and murders. Among the cases will be the trials of Robert Earl Brundidge, accused of Robbery, First Degree, and another defendant in the same case, Ulysses Wilkerson. Also to see trial, will be Leonard Morrisette, who is accused of failure to register as a sex offender.

&uot;He was listed as moving to Mobile, but he showed up in Pike County,&uot; McAliley said. &uot;He's a convicted rapist and I think the people of Pike County would want to know that he was around. He faces some very serious jail time.&uot;

Stephen Stetson can be reached at stephen.stetson