April 9, 2013

Man charged with murder in stabbing death

Rachel Brown

— A 22-year-old Whitfield County man has been charged with stabbing a Walker County man to death early Tuesday morning after the man drove up to his residence in Rocky Face to give a ride to a woman staying there, officials said.

The Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office charged Jonathan Colby Durden, 22, of 279 Quinn Drive, with the murder of Ricky C. Grice Jr., 28. Durden remains in the Whitfield County jail without bond. Grice was taken to Hamilton Medical Center and pronounced dead.

The sheriff’s office also charged the woman, Alexa Blubaugh, 22, of the Rocky Face address, with possession of meth and possession of tools for the commission of crime.

Sheriff Scott Chitwood said in a press release that a 911 call about a disturbance came in at about 2:30 a.m. and the complainant told dispatchers someone had been stabbed. Chitwood said he didn’t know what kind of knife was used or who it belonged to. When officers arrived, they discovered Grice slumped over in the front seat of his Dodge pickup truck, the release states.

“He appeared to have several stab wounds to the body,” Chitwood said. “Officers discovered a male subject (Durden) standing in a driveway close by with blood on his hands and holding a knife. After officers ordered the subject to drop the knife twice, he complied and was taken into custody.”

Officials said Blubaugh had been staying with Durden at the residence, and Grice came by to give her a ride when she wanted to leave. Capt. Rick Swiney said the men were “acquaintances” and he wasn’t aware of any history of violence between them.

“Durden became upset at Grice because he was going to give her a ride and walked up to the truck and reached in through the open truck door window and started stabbing Grice,” Chitwood said in the release.

Swiney said Durden “has been arrested before” but he couldn’t comment yet on whether the arrests were for violent behavior or something else. A neighbor who said she was Durden’s relative but declined to give her name said Durden had been at her home on Monday and she didn’t notice anything terribly wrong. She said she was shocked at what happened and described Durden as “a sweet little boy” who is normally quiet.

She also said she could usually tell when someone was doing drugs, and he didn’t appear to be under the influence when he was at her home. Swiney said investigators recovered some meth on Blubaugh, and the investigation is continuing.

An employee at a Walker County funeral home said Tuesday afternoon Grice’s family is still in the process of making arrangements.