Man released in school gun possession case

Thursday, September 26, 2019

While he still faces a Level 6 felony for his alleged offense, the 19-year-old Quincy man charged with possession of a firearm on school property has been released from custody.

Ford Mayhew was arrested Tuesday after he was seen and photographed by multiple students carrying a damaged rifle across the parking lot of Cloverdale High School.

In Mayhew’s initial appearance in Putnam Superior Court Wednesday, Judge Denny Bridges released him on his own recognizance.

A former Cloverdale student, Mayhew recently completed basic training for the United States Marines.

Defense attorney Eddie Felling requested Mayhew’s release so he could report to his unit.

While Prosecutor Tim Bookwalter had requested a $10,000 bond, Bridges ultimately decided to release the young man to get back to active duty.

During the proceedings, Mayhew entered a not-guilty plea. He was also ordered to stay away from Cloverdale Schools.

Court documents indicate no intent of violence, but an unfortunate choice of time and place for Mayhew to transfer the gun from his girlfriend’s vehicle to his own.

Cloverdale Deputy Marshal James Collings reported he was notified of the incident at 3:15 p.m. Tuesday when Assistant Principal Brent Sailor radioed him saying a student had taken a picture of a man crossing the parking lot with a gun.

Collings was on a traffic stop nearby, where another student had shown him a similar picture. The officer arrived within 30 seconds to find Sailor speaking to a man behind an SUV with what appeared to be an AR-15 leaning on it.

Mayhew, who appears to have been compliant throughout the process, provided his driver’s license and answered both men’s inquiries.

Mayhew told Collings, who is also the Cloverdale school resource officer, he came to school to get a damaged AR-15 from his girlfriend’s car and put it in his own.

However, he was not parked close to his girlfriend’s car and he was attempting to make the transfer just after the release of students.

“Mr. Mayhew carried the weapon across the open parking lot in plain view of students leaving for the day,” Collings wrote. “Students began taking pictures of Mayhew with the weapon and were frightened and concerned.”

Having been damaged in a fire, the gun was inoperable, though it still had a partial magazine in the well and may have had a round in the chamber.

Collings noted that the weapon could not be cleared and made safe “due to its fragile condition.”

After being advised of his Miranda rights, Mayhew told Collings there was a second AR-15 in a case in the rear of his SUV, as well as multiple knives.

Asked about searching the vehicle, Mayhew reportedly said, “You are more than welcome to search it.”

As Mayhew had said, Collings found a second rifle, as well as seven blades of various lengths that Collings classified from knives to machetes to a sword.

Based on his findings, Collings filed paperwork to charge Mayhew with both Level 6 felony possession of a firearm on school property as well as Level 6 felony criminal recklessness with a deadly weapon.

After reviewing the case, the prosecutor’s office did not find sufficient grounds to formally charge Mayhew with criminal recklessness.

While initial reports of the incident prompted speculation on whether the student who actually brought the rifle on school property would be charged, it’s not clear if Mayhew’s girlfriend, who remains unnamed in court documents, committed any wrongdoing by simply having the rifle in her car.

According to state statute, if the gun is in a locked vehicle and out of sight -- such as in a trunk -- it is not a crime to have it on school property.

A pre-trial conference in the matter was set for Oct. 30, with a jury trial for Jan. 7. However, Mayhew’s return to military service could affect any future court proceedings.

View 4 comments
Note: The nature of the Internet makes it impractical for our staff to review every comment. Please note that those who post comments on this website may do so using a screen name, which may or may not reflect a website user's actual name. Readers should be careful not to assign comments to real people who may have names similar to screen names. Refrain from obscenity in your comments, and to keep discussions civil, don't say anything in a way your grandmother would be ashamed to read.
  • Seriously the case should be dropped period. He was no threat to anyone if the gun was damaged. Like you said, wrong place, wrong time. the man is with our military just clear it off and move forward.

    -- Posted by putnamcountyproud on Fri, Sep 27, 2019, at 12:54 PM
  • Don’t get me started on our justice system! Was he wrong for removing it on school property? Yes. Should his future be ruined? NO!!! Once again I’ll use my sone death caused by a drunk drivers case who basically got nothing! You want to ruin this young mans career w the military?? Shame on you Putnam County Justice system! I’d be embarrassed if I was you!

    -- Posted by tinamah08 on Fri, Sep 27, 2019, at 8:11 PM
  • FREE HIM Clear his record and let him go on in his life. Everyone makes mistakes.

    -- Posted by Old Man 2 on Sat, Sep 28, 2019, at 1:10 AM
  • Just think, if he had a little weed on him instead of a gun, he would still be in jail. Truthfully, none of your opinions matters, not even mine.

    -- Posted by Peterpan44 on Sat, Sep 28, 2019, at 9:38 AM
Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: