Alleged shooter arraigned, mental eval ordered

A Marietta man accused of shooting at police officers will remain in custody with no set bond this weekend after his Friday bond arraignment hearing was put on hold pending an evaluation by a local counseling service.

William Bruce Ransom Jr., 53, is charged with attempted aggravated murder-a first-degree felony for which he could face up to 11 years in prison, plus another three years for his use of a firearm.

“It alleges that at 140 E. Spring St., on or about Dec. 12, you did purposely engage in conduct that if successful would have resulted in the offense of the aggravated murder of officer E.B. Kramer,” said Marietta Municipal Court Judge Janet Dyar Welch as she read the charge during a morning arraignment hearing.

Marietta Police Officer Errol Kramer was named not because Ransom singled him out, but because a specific victim had to be named in the charge and Kramer was the officer originally dispatched, said Marietta Police officer Katie Warden.

Ransom appeared attentive during the hearing, answering Welch’s questions curtly and sometimes inaudibly. He appeared via a video feed streamed from the Washington County Jail.

Ransom was incarcerated Thursday after a five-hour standoff with dozens of officers from multiple agencies. Officers first arrived at Ransom’s home after his wife called to say her husband had swallowed multiple pills and was attempting suicide.

According to Marietta Police Capt. Jeff Waite, Ransom first shot at officers through the floor of the second story of his home and continued firing sporadic shots out the second story window throughout the standoff.

Ransom told Welch he and his wife have lived in the home seven or eight years.

“We’re buying it,” he said.

He finally surrendered when the Washington County Sheriff’s Office Special Response Team shot tear gas into the home shortly after 5 a.m.

During the arraignment, Welch decided to postpone ordering a bond until Ransom had been evaluated.

“Have you noticed any change in the level of confusion?” Welch asked a jail administrator present with Ransom.

“He’s been consistently semi-confused. He understands some of what’s going on but not all of it,” responded corrections officer Jeff Farrell.

Ransom’s level of understanding was consistent with L&P Services’ initial screening, said Welch, but determined further evaluation was in order before setting bond.

She also determined that Ransom would need to contact a public defender to represent him.

“Are you employed, retired, unemployed?” she asked him.

Ransom responded, “Unemployed. Broke.”

Welch ordered Ransom to reach out to the Public Defender’s Office prior to the continuation of his arraignment hearing.

Welch said she hoped to continue the hearing Friday afternoon, but scheduling pushed the hearing back until at least Monday, said Marietta Municipal Court Administrator Jason Hamilton.