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Felon indicted for illegal possession of gun he used to kill man will remain in federal custody

A magistrate judge has ordered that Ricky Gurley remain in federal custody until his trial for illegally possessing a firearm.

Gurley was arraigned in federal court Tuesday and pleaded not guilty to the charge.

He was indicted last Wednesday by a grand jury that alleged Gurley, a convicted felon, knowingly possessed a shotgun and ammunition in Boone County. He has a prior felony conviction from North Carolina for felonious restraint in 1997, making it illegal for him to have a gun.

Federal prosecutor Larry Miller said during the arraignment Tuesday that the prosecution had reason to believe Gurley had the gun for year before he used it in May to shoot and kill Cameron Caruthers during a disturbance on Dawn Ridge Road in Columbia. Gurley’s attorney claims he used the gun in self-defense.

On Tuesday, federal prosecutor Larry Miller argued that Gurley should be held in federal custody until his trial, citing a criminal history that spanned three decades and included weapons violations as well as two instances in which Gurley failed to show up to court.

He also claimed Gurley could be a flight risk because his family lives in North Carolina.

“This isn’t someone without a history,” said Miller.

Gurley’s attorney for the federal charge, Troy Stabenow, argued that Gurley hasn’t added very much to his criminal record in the last 20 years and it “speaks to whether he’s currently a risk to not show up or be a danger to the community.”

Stabenow said that while Gurley may have had the gun for a year, he didn’t do anything with it.

“Fact is, he didn’t go looking for trouble until a situation where he says he needed to defend himself,” said Stabenow.

Gurley also just recently had open-heart bypass surgery and Stabenow argued that his recovery would keep him from fleeing or doing anything dangerous.

In the end, Magistrate Judge Willie Epps Jr. ordered Gurley remain in custody until his trial. He said that Gurley’s extensive criminal history and lack of family ties in Columbia were the main reasons for his decision. He also mentioned he received three letters from the community in support of keeping Gurley in custody, but they did not influence his decision.

Family members of Cameron Caruthers who were in the courtroom Tuesday exhaled audible sighs of relief when the judge ordered Gurley to remain in custody. The family did not want to comment to ABC17 News on Tuesday.

Gurley can appeal the decision that he remain in custody.

For more on May’s shooting, click here.

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