Hammer demanded $15K
for location of body
By Joel Frady
Ashe County Sheriff James Williams officially announced that the remains found buried in the Clifton community on Tuesday, Aug. 4, have been positively identified as Jimmy Lee Blevins. The body was found late Tuesday afternoon and was sent to Chapel Hill for identification, where dental records proved that it was Blevins.
Frederick Phillip Hammer
Authorities found Blevins, who disappeared in February of 2007, after convicted murderer Frederick P. Hammer confessed to the murder. Although authorities had a confession, Hammer was reluctant to tell them where the body was buried.
"When he confessed to the murder, he told us what happened, told us the story and confessed to killing him, but when it came to giving us the location of the body he would not tell us where the body was," said Williams. He wanted the $15,000 that the Blevins family had offered as a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Blevins' killer put in a trust account for his step-granddaughter.
"As sickening and as despicable as that is, we had no choice but to come back and tell the family 'he's confessed to killing your son but he wants [the $15,000] before he'll give up where the body is,'" said Williams. "The Blevins family -- they didn't hesitate much, they said 'We want our boy.' [Blevins'] mother wants a grave to go to and know where her son is."
Williams said that the money was put into the trust account of Donna Shumate, Hammer's attorney, an action that made Hammer's wife, Brenda, "terribly unhappy.
"She does not want that money and I am hoping she can talk him into changing his mind about that [because] he's the only one" that can return the money, Williams said.
The money wasn't Hammer's only demand. Williams said that he "wanted to be moved to a prison that is closer to home" and that "he was going to be transferred anyway."
Hammer will soon be transferred to Wallens Ridge Correction Center in Big Stone Gap, Va., which is approximately a three-hour drive from Ashe County (as opposed to the five-hour drive to Powhatan Correctional Facility in Richmond).
Williams also said that he will soon meet with the State Bureau of Investigation, District Attorney Tom Horner and the Ashe County Sheriff's deputies that worked the case to determine how to proceed with the filing of criminal charges against Hammer.
He noted that Hammer will most likely have to appear in a North Carolina court to face charges, including murder, in Blevins' death.
Authorities will also continue to investigate Hammer's claim to have killed Tim Shatley on Nov. 19, 2005, in Grassy Creek.
"We will continue to investigate the leads and work toward making a decision in the Tim Shatley [murder] that he confessed to, but like I said we are not satisfied with his version of that right now," said Williams.
Despite the positive identification, the official cause of death has not yet been released. Boone Family Funeral Home in West Jefferson is handling the funeral arrangements, but no date has been set for a service.