Poker game ends with man shot, not seriously injured


Published: Wednesday, November 26, 2008 at 3:51 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, November 26, 2008 at 3:51 p.m.

It wasnít a dead manís hand, but another manís poker hand was enough to land a Williston resident in jail for attempted murder Wednesday.

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Ralph Rackard

Courtesy of Levy County Sheriff's Office

Williston Police arrested Ralph Rackard, 49, for firing a shotgun at another man after a dispute over a five-card poker game. The disagreement occurred Tuesday after Decurtis Lee, 33, of Williston, ended up with the winning hand, police say.

The two had been gambling at a residence in east Williston minutes before Rackard fired at Lee, police reported.

Lee had been walking to his sisterís home in the 300 block of SE 10th Street at about 11:15 p.m. when the shooting occurred.

The victim wasnít seriously injured. Police said Rackard used a low-powered shot shell that didnít penetrate Leeís clothing.

The dead manís hand comes from the legend of the poker hand held by Wild Bill Hickock when he was killed in 1876 and is two pairs of aces and eights.

Chief Dan Davis said the poker hands in this game were Rackardís pair of fours and Leeís pair of fives.

Rackard was booked into the Levy County jail Wednesday morning.

The case isnít the first poker-related shooting in the area. Earlier this year, Putnam County deputies investigated two shootings. On Feb. 16, the bodies of three men were found at a building that had been the site of a private, all-night poker game. The shooter believed he had been cheated, according to investigators.

Duane Demaris Crittenden, 28, of Palatka, later entered a guilty plea to three counts of first-degree murder and was ordered to serve three consecutive life sentences in prison.

On April 17, another poker game at a Palatka home was interrupted by a gunman who fired shots, hitting one of the players in the hip.

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