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Loaded weapons, packaged marijuana seized from camper

Cary Ashby • Jun 16, 2014 at 11:12 PM

Sheriff's deputies recently seized two loaded firearms and a large amount of suspected marijuana reported to be "packaged for distribution" when they arrested a male suspect with a violent past.

William M. McCullough, 69, of 1732 U.S. 250, New London, is charged with one count each of felonious assault and possession of weapons under disability.

Huron County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Ted Patrick shared the details on how deputies ended up arresting McCullough -- who spent time many years in prison for attempted murder and multiple drug convictions -- on a recent Thursday afternoon.

A male complainant came to the sheriff's office about 11 a.m., but the suspected incident happened much earlier that morning when the man was consuming alcohol with McCullough.

"An argument erupted over who was going to pay for the beer. The argument got heated," Patrick said.

The man left McCullough's camper and went to his own, which is on the same property owned by a third person. Patrick said the man reportedly heard McCullough threaten to kill him and also about 25 gun shots.

"He was not struck. He stayed in his camper until he thought he was safe. He was concerned about leaving the property," Patrick said.

After a short investigation, deputies obtained warrants for McCullough on felonious assault and possession of weapons under disability.

"He's not permitted to have a firearm due to his prior, violent criminal history," Patrick said.

In 1985, McCullough was sentenced to six to 25 years in prison for attempted murder for shooting his former girlfriend and her lover. Prosecutors have said they suspected the Dec. 31, 1984 shooting arose out of a fit of jealousy because McCullough watched the couple necking.

The victims, who were shot by an old-style revolver with low-velocity rounds, survived. The woman sustained injuries to her brain stem and thyroid gland.

On Thursday, Sheriff Dane Howard, several of his deputies, five deputies from the Ashland County Sheriff's Office and members of the New London Police Department met in the Fitchville area to set up a perimeter around where McCullough lives.

"It's a big junk yard is what it is," Patrick said about the property. "We had received information that McCullough was not coming out of his trailer. He was armed and said he wasn't going back to prison."

Howard said the amount of officers and establishing the perimeter was necessary due to McCullough's criminal history, the nature of the complaint and the possible presence of firearms.

"I took every precaution to ensure the safety of everyone," the sheriff added.

When deputies arrived, Howard said a witness reported McCullough possibly was intoxicated and in his camper with a loaded weapons, "which was consistent with the complaint."

"We were able to establish he was in his camper," Patrick added.

However, there were seven pitbull dogs near the camper.

"(That) made the situation even more difficult to handle," Patrick said.

Deputies contacted the Huron County Dog Warden's Office to retrieve the dogs.

After about 20 minutes of negotiating with McCullough, "he surrendered without incident," Patrick said.

Sgt. Bill Duncan and Detective Rich Larson were in charge of negotiating with the suspect. Howard said he recently had sent the two deputies to a week-long training session by the FBI.

"I had done the training myself about 15 years ago. It's very intensive," said Howard, who was the hostage negotiator for the sheriff's office when he was in charge of the detective bureau.

The sheriff praised the way Duncan and Larson handled negotiations with the suspect.

"It was the first opportunity they had to use their training. It was very successful negotiations," Howard said.

After McCullough was in custody, deputies used a search warrant to obtain several weapons from the camper. Patrick said there were two loaded firearms -- a Mossberg shotgun and .9 mm High Point pistol.

"There were two other weapons in the home that were unloaded," the sheriff's spokesman said about a 22-caliber Marlin rifle and an air rifle.

"Also in the home was a large amount of marijuana that was packaged for distribution," Patrick said.

McCullough has been convicted multiple times of drug-related and violent crimes.

In 1980, he was sentenced to one to 10 years in prison for trafficking in LSD. Prosecutors have said McCullough ignited fireworks during an incident at the old Richfield Coliseum. That same year, he also served time in a Columbus prison for trafficking in marijuana before being paroled in 1981.

On Aug. 25, 2008, McCullough was sentenced to six months in prison for attempted assault on a police officer. According to the sheriff's office, a deputy used a Taser on him when he reportedly resisted arrest at his home.

At the time of the mid-May 2008 incident, McCullough was arrested on warrant. He was charged with failure to report to jail on the original conviction of child enticement. The defendant served a 40-day sentence at the Huron County Jail.

McCullough was convicted of telling several boys and girls, ages 9 to 13, he wouldn't hurt them if they approached him when he was near a white van. One of the victim's parents told McCullough to leave after he told the child to put the Freeze Pop in the back of the vehicle, according to a Reflector story published Oct. 19, 2006.

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