Charles Gorrell was granted bond after a hastily called court hearing this week, The Augusta Chronicle reported.
Defense lawyer William Sussman said his client’s health is rapidly deteriorating and he might soon die in jail if he’s held there. Gorrell has lost 32 pounds, and has been treated at a hospital numerous times since his arrest last month, Sussman said.
“I’m pretty much convinced that in a jail setting that he might not live to Friday,” Superior Court Judge Danny Craig said at Wednesday’s court hearing.
Gorrell is accused of killing his nephew, 59-year-old Tim Grooms of Lincolnton, in a room on the seventh floor of University Hospital on Oct. 16. The shooting stemmed from a family dispute in the hospital, where Gorrell’s wife was a patient, authorities said.
Gorrell has been diagnosed with diabetes, congestive heart failure and has contracted pneumonia, Sussman wrote in a court motion requesting that he be released on bond. Gorrell was most recently hospitalized for coughing up blood, a complication related to a blood-thinning medication he is taking, the motion stated.
The jail is not equipped to handle someone with Gorrell’s extensive medical needs, Maj. Gene Johnson, the Richmond County jail administrator, said at Wednesday’s court hearing.
“He needs to be in a hospital, not in jail,” Johnson said.
The judge arranged for Gorrell to wear an electronic monitoring bracelet while he’s out on bond and in the care of his son at his home near Augusta.
The judge said he was concerned for the safety of some of Gorrell’s relatives and sought assurances from his son that he would keep a close watch on his father. The judge also said that relatives would be receiving calls during the holiday period to alert them of the bond decision.