Testimony shows son was on floor in Hattiesburg apartment when father shot him
HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) — A south Mississippi police officer said Friday that a son was lying on the floor when his father blasted him with a shotgun, killing him.
The Hattiesburg American reports the testimony came in a preliminary hearing concerning evidence against 45-year-old Joel “Chad” Graves, who is charged with second-degree murder.
Hattiesburg Municipal Judge Wes Curry ruled Graves should continue to be jailed without bail.
Detective Erik Herrin testified that officers at first believed Chad Graves might have killed his 20-year-old son, Scott Graves, in self-defense. Chad Graves was standing outside the apartment and had blood on his hands and head. He told police he and his son had been fighting and at some point Scott Graves had hit him in the head.
Chad Graves at first told police he and his son had struggled over the shotgun when it fired, striking Scott Graves in the throat, killing him.
However, Herrin testified that Chad Graves’ wife, Stacy Graves, later told police she could see Scott Graves on the kitchen floor when Chad Graves shot him in mid-August. Herrin said Scott Graves’ hands were apart and up near his head when his body was found. He had no weapon in his hands.
He also testified Scott Graves’ blood was pooled underneath him, showing he had been lying on the floor when his father shot him. Herrin said that outside a few spots of blood on his chest, Scott Graves did not have any other blood on the front of his body.
Based on the blood and location of the shotgun pellets, police were able to determine Scott Graves was lying on the floor when he was shot as Stacy Graves had said.
Herrin said Chad Graves “by his own admission, was standing in the doorway and had full control of the shotgun.”
Chad Graves was taken to a local hospital for treatment and was transferred to the Veterans Affairs hospital in Biloxi. He says he is a disabled veteran and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. Police arrested him there and brought him back to Hattiesburg, charging him Aug. 29
Defense Attorney Michael Crosby requested a bond hearing, which will be held at a later date. He asked the judge to allow Graves to be released to continue his treatment at the VA, but Curry denied the request.
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