Security Officer killed in violent home invasion www.privateofficer.com
Investigators caught two suspects and were seeking a third man Friday night after a home invasion that resulted in the death of a Henderson County man.
Arrested and charged with first-degree murder were Terry Lee Landrum, 16, of 870 Ida Rogers Drive, Hendersonville; and Steven R. Ramirez, 33, of 711 Woodcock Ave., near Lake Lure.
Deputies were still seeking Mykel Waters, 17, of 92G Cedar Bluff Apartments in Hendersonville.
All three face one count each of first-degree murder, assault with a deadly weapon, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, second-degree burglary and first-degree burglary. Landrum and Ramirez were arrested at about 8 p.m. Friday.
The three are charged in the armed robbery and murder of Oscar “Poochie” Corn, who family members said was getting ready to go to his third-shift job as a security guard when the robbers burst into his home on Howard Gap Road.
During the investigation, investigators learned that the suspects had broken into another residence on the property before invading Corn’s home, said Capt. Charlie McDonald of the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office.
That residence, a mobile home at 2798 Howard Gap Road, is owned by the Corn family and rented to Ronald Rudisill, who was not home at the time, McDonald said.
Pistol used in beating
Corn was reading the Bible at his kitchen table, his son said, when robbers burst into the house early Friday.
A short time later, the robbers beat him to death with a chrome-plated pistol. His wife, Joyce, was injured while their 12-year-old grandson, Coby Rudisill, remained hidden behind a bed in another room.
Deputies responded to Coby’s 911 call at 1:30 a.m. Joyce, a bookkeeper at West Henderson High School, was taken to Pardee Hospital, treated for a head injury and released.
As the sun rose on Good Friday, yellow crime scene tape was wrapped around the yard of the one-story ranch-style house at 2822 Howard Gap Road near Zeb Corn Road.
Plastic Easter eggs hung from the branches of a plant near the front door. A jungle gym swing swayed in the breeze as SBI agents and sheriff’s deputies combed the area for clues, just a few hours after the savage and inexplicable attack that took from the close-knit community a beloved husband, father, grandfather and coach.
The Corns’ son Billy lives next door to his parents.
“He was a very generous and loving person,” Billy said. “There is no sense in what happened to him.”
Joyce, 58, told her son of the tragic events that unfolded in the early hours of Friday morning.
Oscar was awake at the kitchen table reading his Bible around 1 a.m. before heading to work. He was usually awake at that time because he pulled the late shift as a security guard at the Ingles supermarket on Chimney Rock Road.
It was a quiet night until the robbers wearing hooded sweatshirts forced their way into the kitchen — one armed with a handgun.
Billy said his mother, asleep in the bedroom, woke up when the invaders dragged Oscar into the room.
Coby, the grandson, heard the intrusion and was hiding in his bedroom behind the bed.
Held at gunpoint, the Corns led the hooded men from their bedroom through the house and their vehicle, searching for valuables and money.
One man pistol-whipped Joyce in the back of the head, splitting it open, Billy said.
“The last thing my dad said was ‘Are you okay?’ to my mom,” Billy said.
She replied to her husband, “Yes.”
Then one of the robbers beat Oscar in the head with the pistol until he was dead and all three fled the scene. They made off with a little bit of jewelry and money, according to Billy.
Joyce called out to her grandson to dial 911, and police and family arrived shortly after that.
Billy said the child is physically okay.
A friend and a coach
Dozens of family members and friends gathered at Billy Corn’s home within a short time after the murder.
“He was a wonderful person; he wouldn’t hurt a flea,” said Susie Surtis of Pisgah Forest, Oscar’s sister-in-law.
Oscar got the nickname “Poochie” from his ball playing days.
“Years ago, he played baseball and he would always pooch up his lips,” Surtis said. “He was a great baseball player.”
Oscar played college baseball and made his way into the minor leagues, according to West Henderson Coach Jim Hyatt.
Oscar was Hyatt’s first assistant coach at the high school, serving from 1990 to 1997.
Hyatt, who has been coaching baseball for 19 years, knew Oscar not only as a coach but as a friend.
“He was a fantastic coach,” Hyatt said. “He didn’t have an ego, he loved coaching kids and had a terrific work ethic.”
Oscar played sports as a student at Hendersonville High School. In 1961, Oscar joined the Berkeley Spinners at the end of his sophomore year at HHS. He substituted in the outfield and behind the plate in what would be the last season for the old cotton mill league team. His batting average: .500, on a hit in two at-bats.
“He could play any position,” Hyatt said.
Corn later played for a minor league affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles.
“He was one of the best baseball players to come out of Henderson County,” Hyatt said. “Poochie was quite an athlete.”
His love for baseball continued into his later years.
Oscar was also the first junior varsity coach for West Henderson, coaching from 1993 to 1997. He led the team to an 81-16 record and an undefeated season in 1996.
Hyatt said news of Corn’s death hit him like a kick in the stomach.
“First I was in shock, then sad,” Hyatt said.
He wanted answers on how someone could maliciously kill his friend. Then the emotions turned to anger, he said.
“It is senseless,” Hyatt said. “It is pure evil.”
Joyce wears many hats at West Henderson, including bookkeeper, cheerleading coach and personal assistant to the principal.
“Joyce has been a pillar of this school community for the last 20 years,” Principal Dean Jones said.
Coach Hyatt praised Jones for calm leadership of the school in a time of tragedy. Counselors and local ministers were at the school Friday to comfort or listen to anyone who needed them.
The school decided on Friday to dedicate next week’s West Henderson Invitational baseball tournament to Coach Corn.
Corn was loved by many in the community.
Lance Allen, 64, was a lifelong friend. An electrician, Allen had been at the Corns’ house to replace a fuse just two days before the attacks.
“He was a good person,” Allen said. “I couldn’t imagine anything like this happening to him.”
Phyllis Russell, 63, a cousin, has lived her whole life in a home across the road from the Corns. A neighbor came to her door Friday morning to tell her that Oscar had been killed.
She couldn’t believe that anyone would take her cousin’s life. She did not think anyone would harm Corn “because he was too good of a fellow to have enemies.”
One neighbor vowed to take extra precautions to protect his five children.
“I’m going to keep my guns near me now,” he said. “There are so many people that walk up and down (Howard Gap Road). You don’t know what’s going on.”
Oscar has two other children — Coby’s mother, Jennifer Corn, who lives in a trailer on her parent’s property, and Jason Corn, who lives in Asheville.
“This has been a terribly difficult day. Our hearts go out to the Corn family in their suffering and loss,” said Sheriff Rick Davis.
“I am so thankful to the men and women of law enforcement; the state agents, the HPD officers, and our officers and telecommunicators who worked so tirelessly and selflessly to bring this case to the point of arrests.
“I would also be remiss if I did not thank the many citizens who were so moved by compassion at the brutality of this event that they came forward with tips and information in an effort to support justice for this family. Community support played a significant part in solving this crime and I am very gratified by it.”
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