Ashe released from jail without bond

Published 1:02 am Sunday, February 15, 2009

The suspect arrested for the Wednesday afternoon homicide of a man has been released from jail without bond.

After hearing the evidence against the suspect, Vance Ashe, Justice Court Judge John Mark Mitchell decided not to sign the warrant.

The evidence presented to Mitchell was based on the shooting that occurred Wednesday afternoon. That day, Ashe, 35, of 5 Ford Ashe Circle apparently shot and killed Richard Bryan Tice, 41, of Ford Ashe Circle.

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Ashe is reported to have called 911 after the shooting and laid his gun on the table. Ashe told Pearl River County Sheriff Deputies that he and Tice were engaged in an altercation at the time of the shooting. Ashe saw Tice approach his truck and got out with the gun in his hand. Even after Ashe pulled the gun on Tice, Tice was reported to have continued to approach Ashe.

Ashe fired two shots at that time, hitting Tice once in the chest. Once deputies and other emergency personnel arrived, Ashe was taken into custody and Tice was flown by helicopter to Forrest General Hospital in Hattiesburg.

Tice was declared dead at the hospital.

An initial appearance was held Thursday evening where Mitchell presided over the case as it was presented to him. When the warrant was presented to Mitchell for his signature, he decided there was not probable cause to sign the warrant, District Attorney Hal Kittrell said.

Kittrell said the case still will be presented before a grand jury for their review to determine if Ashe will be indicted on murder charges, or if the shooting was based on self defense under the castle doctrine.

Mitchell declined to comment on his decision citing judicial performance regulations.

Chief Deputy Shane Tucker said protocol concerning a warrant is different depending on the circumstances. Either way, the warrant has to be signed by a judge so the department can conduct an arrest.

In the situations where a suspect is arrested on site, such as Ashe’s case, the warrant is presented with the evidence to a judge after the suspect has been taken into custody. In instances where evidence is gathered before a suspect is taken into custody, such as a drug investigation, the warrant is presented to the judge before the suspect is taken into custody.

Tucker said the evidence collected at the scene was presented to Mitchell at Ashe’s initial appearance and afterwards Mitchell decided not to sign the warrant. Ashe was released at that point since the department had no cause to hold him.