Man convicted in dragging of police officer

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 24, 2008

COURTLAND—A Franklin man was convicted Wednesday on three felony charges stemming from an incident in which he dragged a police officer alongside his car as the driver sped away from a convenience store.

Circuit Court Judge Westbrook J. Parker found 31-year-old Armondo Thomas Hicks guilty of attempted malicious injury of a police officer, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of cocaine.

The two-day trial featured testimony by a string of inmates from the Western Tidewater Regional Jail and other correctional facilities. The inmates had been called by both the prosecution and the defense to testify about whether Hicks had bragged in jail about the incident.

In the end, however, Parker gave little weight to any of the testimony offered by the men and women in yellow and orange jumpsuits.

“What happened here is very, very simple,” he said in court. “Mr Hicks was about to roll a blunt, and the officer caught him. Mr. Hicks would not be in so much trouble if he’d done what the officer said right up front.”

Hicks and his wife had been sitting in a rented Dodge Neon outside of Deli Express at Elm and Pretlow streets when Officer C.A. Fellers Jr. approached the car and shone a flashlight inside, the officer testified on Tuesday. When he saw what Hicks was doing, he opened the car door and tried to extricate the man from the driver’s seat.

Hicks then put the car in gear and sped away. Fellers’ arm was caught in the seat belt, and he was dragged across the street and into a curb before being knocked loose. As he was being dragged, the officer pleaded with Hicks to stop the car.

“It’s clear he acted intentionally,” the judge said while delivering his verdict on Wednesday.