Wanted Ellijay man nabbed in Murphy
Murphy, N.C. — A Georgia man wanted for alleged crimes in three states was apprehended Friday night at gunpoint in full view of departing Art Walk festival traffic.
James Adam Mills, 33, of Ellijay, was arrested by Cherokee County sheriff’s deputies on charges of larceny of a motor vehicle, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of schedule II controlled substances.
Mills was involved in a traffic stop Thursday in Fannin County, with warrants outstanding in that county, as well as in Polk County, Tenn. Cherokee County Sheriff Derrick Palmer said according to what he was told, one of the others in the car brandished a weapon, distracting the officer long enough to allow Mills to escape on foot.
Palmer said Mills had repeatedly made statements that he would not be taken peacefully.
“We take that to mean he is willing to shoot at police, and when he makes those threats we have to take him seriously due to other shootings of officers around the country,” Palmer said. “We want to go home at night.”
On Friday, deputies heard through sources that Mills was in Cherokee County, and they canvassed motels looking for him. They narrowed the search to two possible motels and began surveillance.
Within 30 minutes, deputies observed a meeting between Mills and his girlfriend — Sabrina LeeAnn Adams, 25, of Murphy — and two other people across the street from the motel.
Palmer said deputies intended to allow Mills to leave the center of town before making a stop, but they saw an opportunity to box him in at the parking lot of the No-Name Deli & Ice Cream Parlor. That was just a half-mile from a large public event at Hackney Warehouse while Art Walk festivities were occurring downtown.
Two deputies stood on opposite sides of the stopped vehicle with guns drawn as drivers continued down Hiwassee Street and Old Ranger Road. A woman, who Palmer identified as the driver of the car, sat between the officers on the ground protecting a dog. She was not arrested.
“We had to treat it as a felony traffic stop due to his previous threats,” Palmer said.
Despite his predictions to the contrary, Mills did surrender without incident. Adams and Justin Lee Phillips, 29, of Murphy, also were arrested. Both were charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, while Adams also faces a possession of schedule II controlled substances charge.
Palmer said Mills will face charges here before being extradited to Georgia and Tennessee, though it was unclear which would get him first. A spokesperson with the Fannin County magistrate’s office said specifics on Mills’ outstanding warrants there could not be released until he was extradited and booked.
The spokesman from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office did not return a phone message Monday regarding pending charges in Tennessee.