CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) – Linda Hayes was in bed watching TV with her husband, Richard Hayes, Saturday night. Then, a man Richard Hayes identified as his former son-in-law, entered the bedroom and approached the foot of the bed with a black hand gun.
Hayes told investigators that his wife had just returned home after a family birthday party when Ratliff came in and shot his wife twice. According to an incident report, 65-year-old Linda Hayes' last words were "Oh Honey."
Richard Hayes told deputies that the suspect fumbled with the gun, which appeared to be jammed, and then left the Debbenshire Drive home in West Ashley in a white van.
Hayes and the Charleston County Sheriff's Office held a press conference Monday afternoon and pleaded for Ratcliff, who was released from prison last Tuesday, to turn himself in.
"I know you're going through a difficult time," Richard Hayes said Monday. "I understand it and have no hatred for you. I don't know if I could speak to you right now, but maybe that time will come."
Deputies say Ratliff shot Linda Hayes, who was visiting from Florida, around 6:40 p.m. Hayes was transported to MUSC, but later died as a result of her wounds.
The Charleston County Coroner's Office says Hayes died of two gunshot wounds to the right side of her body. She was pronounced dead at 7:30 p.m. at MUSC.
Ratliff is wanted on murder charges and is still on the run. Sheriff's deputies say that Ratliff was just released from prison. Ratcliff was arrested on Sept. 22 after an assault against his wife occurred the day prior. He pled guilty to a reduced charge of second degree assault and battery. He served 119 days in jail and was given one-year probation.
Ratcliff's arrest record goes back to 1991 when he was convicted of simple assault. he also has prior charges related to drugs, driving with a suspended license and driving under the influence.
Ratliff stands 5'10" weighs 210 pounds. He has scars on his neck and tattoos on his back, shoulders and upper right arm. Deputies say he is armed with a small caliber handgun that he used in the shooting. He also has a history of assault and drugs, according to authorities.
Deputies believe Ratliff may be heading to Pensacola, Fla. where they say he has family. Police urge caution since Ratliff is considered armed and dangerous.
Please contact Crime Stoppers at 554-1111 with any information on the whereabouts of Ronald David Ratliff.