Vol. LXXXIII, No. 30-S Ann Arbor, Michigan-Wednesday, June 20, 1973 Ten Cents. Twelve Pages
Two men woun~ded 'n
drug-related sh ootout
Alleged dealer, customer involved
By DAN BIDDLE
A shootout in a South State St. apartment yesterday
left two men seriously wounded after an apparent armed
drug holdup attempt.
The men have been identified as 28-year-old James
"Big Red" Amison, who is described by acquaintances
as a heavy-volume local drug dealer, and Johnny Sailor,
about 30, said to be one of Amison's frequent Ann Arbor
LOCAL POLICE clamped a tight lid of silence over
their investigation of the incident yesterday, and refused
to speculate on the nature of an argument between Ami-
son and Sailor which led to the shootout.
But The Daily learned that the dispute apparently
began when Sailor attempted to force a drug transaction.
Amison and Sailor arrived at Amison's State St. apart-
ment around 3:25 a.m. yesterday, and according to police,
an argument began as the two men entered the building.
SAILOR DREW a .38 revolver and led Amison into his
apartment at gunpoint. A struggle ensued and building
residents say Sailor fired at least two shots, wounding
Amison in the neck.
19-year-old Ruth Evans, said to be Amison's girlfriend,
was in the apartment and began screaming as the two
After the first shots were fired, Evans called the
police and requested help.
ONE BUILDING resident said he heard a male voice
shout, "What did you do that for . . . they don't need to
know," as Evans began to sob audibly.
She then produced Amison's .357 Magnum revolver and
fired at least four shots at Sailor, wounding him twice in
the back and arm.
Police arrived as the shooting ended and took Amison
and Sailor to St. Joseph Mercy Hospital, where both men
were listed in "fair" condition following emergency sur-
gery yesterday morning.
RESIDENTS OF the apartment say at least ten shots
were fired during the incident; police found several bullets
in the walls and floor of Amison's blood-stained room.
One policeman at the scene of the shooting said Amison
was "pretty well ventilated" by gunshot wounds.
"Whoever that girl is who fired the gun," he added,
"she didn't miss."
EVANS WAS released after intense police questioning.
Police detectives refused to release any details of their
investigation of the shooting. No arrests have been made.
One officer said there is "a strong possibility" of
Evans' or Sailor's arrest, but added, "we just don't have
nearly enough information right now to start arresting
POLICE SAY Sailor's revolver is stolen and have so
far been unable to determine the origin of Amison's gun.
Acquaintances of the three persons involved say there
was an almost constant flow of drug customers in previous
weeks at Amison's apartment, and add that "nobody
messed with Big Red."
Both Evans and the alleged dealer are said to have
been armed "most of the time."
A FIRSTHAND ACCOU
Two days in the
Editor's note: The following account is the
first of three parts in a series on the
washtenaw county jail. The second part, a
continuation of today's article, will appear
in tomorrow's Daily.
By KATHLEEN RICKE
"Is your prisoner double-locked?"
"One mistake could mean your life."
ONE MISTAKE could mean your life .. .
You see the signs lettered in red when
you walk through the entrance of the
Washtenaw County Jail.
For the deputies, one mistake could
possibly mean their lives.
FOR THE PRISONER, the locking of
the door behind you means you're now in
a place where you have to cope with fear
of the guards, fear of the other inmates,
fear of the locked doors and iron bars,
and of the small cell which now becomes
After being fingerprinted, photographed
and asked a million questions you're taken
through the "bull pen," a small cage of
waiting prisoners. You're told by the
matron that you're going to the women's
cell block, and you're lucky because it's
just been painted.
Later you find out from a fellow inmate
that "some crazy bitch burned the place
up, so they had to move us out and paint
As the matron leads you to the cell
block through a maze of corridors and
locked doors, the inmates hear her keys
jingling and begin to shout, "Hey turnkey,
turnkey, come here."
THE MATRON takes you past the steel
-Dily oto doors as if she doesn't hear any voices
See TWO, Page 10
An inmate in the Washtenaw County Jail.