Bond revoked, ex-officer sent to jail

Apr. 23, 2013 @ 06:41 PM

Court officials jailed a former Henderson police officer Monday following a hearing on revoking his bond in a firearms case.

Fears of his potential for violence were presented in the argument to revoke bond.

Police stated in a report filed for the case against Anthony Dale Finch, 51, of 246 Gun Club Road, that Finch approached Patrol Officer Chris Martin, who was parked in his patrol cruiser April 10 at Walmart.

Martin reported that Finch, nicknamed “Tony,” asked about an officer by name who arrested him on the current charges of carrying a concealed firearm and having a stolen Ruger .22 caliber handgun, asking specifically about that officer’s work schedule.

“The conversation then took a turn as Mr. Finch started to speak about the recent murders on the news,” Martin wrote in a police department memo dated April 10.

“Mr. Finch spoke about the sheriff who was killed while observing a SWAT call out in another state, while sitting inside of his vehicle and not paying attention to his surroundings,” Martin wrote. “This caused me to believe that Mr. Finch could have been referring to me sitting inside of my vehicle outside of Walmart.”

According to Martin, Finch also referred to the killing of a district attorney in another state, doing so in a calm manner, but also in an insinuating manner, adding that Finch expressed appreciation for what the police do for the city and that they should all stay safe so those bad things don’t happen “here in Henderson.”

Assistant District Attorney Bill Griffin, prosecutor for the firearms charges, filed a motion two days later to schedule a hearing on revoking bond.

It was the latest exchange between Finch and Henderson police following a 2008 case charging Finch with threatening to kill District Attorney Sam Currin, which was dismissed on March 18, 2009.

The prosecutor for that case was former District Attorney Joel Brewer from Person County, who signed a voluntary dismissal of the charge, citing “material witness for the state has disappeared and FBI cannot locate at this time.”

Brewer had been assigned because Currin was a prosecution witness in the case.

The charge stated that on April 14, 2008, Finch made comments to Donald Wimbrow, a cashier at Rite-Aid in Henderson, that he was going to kill Currin “and cut his head off,” according to a grand jury indictment handed down June 23, 2008.

For the ongoing firearms case, Griffin included as evidence a March 10, 2008, conviction on consolidated counts of making threats in June 2007 that resulted in a 45-day suspended sentence with two years supervised probation.

Finch was charged originally with brandishing a weapon while chasing James Maye and Dionne Hensley from the vicinity of Greenway’s Auto Salvage on U.S. 158 Bypass in Vance County to the Oxford police headquarters.

Because of alleged racial threats in connection with the chase, Finch also was charged with ethnic intimidation. A plea deal dropped that charge and consolidated threat charges into one penalty.

Also included in case files, noted as state’s exhibits, were documents on past mental evaluations of Finch and printouts from postings online at the Facebook website.

Comments on Facebook that were noted as made by Finch stated, “I learned the justice system is corrupt, and dead men don’t testify. So next time I’ll leave no witnesses,” for a post dated Oct. 12, 2012.

Also stated, “Once they act outside the color of the law, they become criminals and I’ll deal with all criminals the same way. I’ll use whatever force needed, and will escalate as needed up and include deadly force. So be right when you deal with me.”

He also referred to Griffin as trying to get him to plea to a concealed weapon charge, with 12 months supervised probation, adding that he used to have respect for Griffin, but now counts him as “corrupt like the rest.”

Also posted in 2012 were photos of Henderson Police Chief Keith Sidwell.

Finch had been a Henderson police officer for 24 years until disabilities ended his law enforcement career in 2003, according to court files. Sidwell was not the chief during any of that time.

Finch was arrested Nov. 14 on the firearms charges, and the case is scheduled for a hearing during the week of April 30 in Vance County Superior Court.


Contact the writer at mfisher@hendersondispatch.com.