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Straight Razor Fight

One evening I received a call of a man lying in the front yard of his grandmother's house with his throat cut. The grandmother had called in and requested an ambulance, saying that the victim had come up to her door and asked for help then passed out, and he had his throat cut.

As I responded I fully expected to find a drunk, with a minor cut, passed out in the front yard. Upon my arrival, I found the victim lying on his back in the front yard. I shined my flashlight down on him. When my light hit him, his neck was cut from one ear all the way to the other ear. I could see down his throat into his chest cavity. By some miracle, the cut had completely opened the skin but not gone through the windpipe or blood vessels. There was a lot of bleeding from the wound itself, but the man was alive.

The ambulance, which arrived shortly after me, transported him to the hospital. The grandmother could not or would not tell me anything about what happened, so I went on to the hospital.

When I got to the hospital, the emergency room nurse told me she was just about to call the dispatcher, because another wound victim had come in to be treated. I told her I would take that case, too. When I looked at his chart, I found he had the same last name as the victim we just brought in. I decided to talk to the people who brought him to the hospital before I talked to him. By talking to them I would be able to tell if he were telling me the truth or not.

I talked to all of them and found that there had been a birthday party for the one they brought in and that he and his brother, who was my first victim, had gotten into an argument. I was told that the argument was over one brother talking to the other brother's girlfriend.

All they would tell me about the wounds was that the brothers had locked themselves in the bathroom and a few minutes later they both came out bleeding.

I knew enough now to go talk to the second victim. I found that he had been cut from just above the left eye brow straight through the left eyeball and across the nose. The wound ended in the middle of his right cheek. It was obvious that he was going to lose his left eye. It was cut in two.

At first he did not want to tell me what happened, but after I told him I could charge him with trying to kill his brother, he told me everything. Once inside the bathroom, both brothers had grabbed straight razors and cut each other. I also found out that the grandmother's house, where I had found the first victim, was over a half mile from the house where this had happened. The man had walked over a half a mile with his throat cut!

I talked to both brothers and explained how they could press charges if they wanted to. Neither one wanted to press charges.

I filed my report and forgot about the whole thing until I received a call from the brother who lost his eye about a week later. He told me that he had insurance and had filed a claim for the loss of his eye. He asked me to change my report to say that it was an accident so the insurance company would pay off. He said he could not get any money the way my report was written now because it showed the whole thing was a fight, and the insurance company said that was different from an accident.

I told him I was sorry but I could not change my report because that was the way it had happened. He wasn't happy with me, but there was nothing he could do to make me change my report.

Ralph L. Dettwiler
(Former) Sergeant
Beaufort County Sheriff's Department
Beaufort, South Carolina

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