Local News

Police Chief in More Danger at Home Than on Streets

Posted March 8, 1998

— The people who fight crime are exposed to danger every day, but Wayne County deputies say a small town police chief was in more danger at home this week than he was on the streets.

What sounds like a Hollywood movie plot, really happened, according to law enforcement officers in the tiny town of Eureka. Investigators say they believe there was a plot to kill police chief Ricky Guthrie, and that the identity of the alleged mastermind came as a surprise to everyone.

Wayne County Sheriff Gary Winders says Guthrie's wife has been taken into custody.

Ricky Guthrie wasn't attacked, but detectives say the money-based hit could have happened any time.

Grace Braxton, who lives near the Guthries, says she was very surprised.

Eureka residents say Suzanne Guthrie often joined her husband here at the office to help him out with local projects. Ironically, detectives say she had also planned for her husband to be on the job the day he was to be murdered. That way, they say, she'd be entitled to full benefits as the widow of a police officer killed on the job.

Eureka resident John Ruffin says he knows Suzanne Ruffin and would never have thought this of her.

Detectives won't say much about the alleged murder plot, but say they believe the chief would have been murdered if not for a tip from one of the citizens he was hired to protect.

Suzanne Guthrie was released from the Wayne County Jail after posting a $25,000 bond. She faces a single charge of solicitation to commit murder. Detectives say she has confessed.

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