Arrest Made in Hate Crime Against the Pretty Penny Cafe
William Robert Ratliff, 40, of Greenbrier County has been arrested in the hate crime incident last week at the Pretty Penny Café that shook the Hillsboro community and brought about a wide-reaching outpouring of support for diversity tolerance.
Pocahontas County Sheriff David Jonese said Ratliff was apprehended using information obtained from interviews and from video surveillance. He was held at the Southern Regional Jail and released on bond this morning.
“He was charged under the state statute for hate crime and subsequently arrested, transported to Southern Regional, and was arraigned this morning, and I’m told bond was posted and he’s been released,” Jonese said.
In appears that he acted alone, Jonese said.
“We had done extensive investigation as to different leads, conducting several interviews, managed to check out some video at some local establishments. Primarily through the interviews though we were able to track down the suspect. We made the arrest. When he was brought in for questioning, he subsequently confessed and gave us a statement of what transpired and what he did and why he did it,” Jonese said.
“It was just a personal issue that he had involving a working relationship with the restaurant. That’s really pretty much all I can tell you. He said it really wasn’t supposed to have been a racist thing, it was more of trying to get back at something that he felt she had wronged him on and, again, I don’t know how he determined what he was going to do. It just I think ended up being more of a spur of the moment than a pre-planned event.”
“He did state that he did this alone on his own, so in case there was concern that there were more people involved. He did two things that night. One was another sign that he had posted and the spray painting, but he did tell us that he acted alone on those.”
“He had also put out a sign publicly about another individual that he was apparently having issues with. So I mean, it was just a night where he decided to come up here and create as much trouble for people, those individuals anyway, that he could,” he said.
Jonese said he was glad to provide some closure for everyone who has been affected by the crime.
“The main thing was that I was concerned with is that people understood that we were able to track all this down and resolve it. It takes a little time, everyone wants it done the next day. But also, that it was not anyone from Pocahontas County. It was someone from another county, coming in and doing that. So those were the two things that I was most interested in people knowing and understanding,” he said.
A preliminary hearing will be scheduled in Pocahontas County.
“Next he will have a preliminary hearing up here in Pocahontas County. From there it starts the long process of the judicial system. So I don’t know where it will go after that. At the preliminary hearing, his lawyer will be there, prosecutor will be there, and they’ll start their process at that point,” he said.