published Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

Walker County Ga., man stabbed, killed in his truck

Police said a 29-year-old man coming to pick up a woman who asked for help early Tuesday morning was caught off-guard before he was stabbed to death.

Ricky Grice Jr., of Walker County, Ga., had received a call from Alexa Blubaugh asking him to pick her up from a house in Rocky Face, Ga., where she had been staying with 22-year-old Jonathan Durden, police said.

When Grice pulled in the driveway on Quinn Drive at 2:30 a.m. in his Dodge pickup, Durden approached his open window, said sheriff's office Capt. Ricky Swiney.

Before Grice could stop the younger man, Durden reached for his knife that he kept strapped to a holster around his side, Swiney said, and he began stabbing Grice.

"We don't think the victim knew it was coming," Swiney said.

The sheriff's office wouldn't say how many times Grice was stabbed, but when deputies arrived the victim was slumped over in the truck. He was pronounced dead at Hamilton Medical Center.

Officers found Durden still standing in the driveway with blood on his hands and holding the bloody knife, Sheriff Scott Chitwood said in a news release.

Blubaugh, who had watched the stabbing, called 911.

When investigators searched her, they found methamphetamine and arrested her, Swiney said. Durden also will be tested to see if he was under the influence of drugs, officials said.

Durden and Blubaugh were booked in the Whitfield County Jail.

Durden has been charged with murder, while Blubaugh was charged with violation of Georgia controlled substance law.

about Joy Lukachick Smith...

Joy Lukachick Smith is the city government reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Since 2009, she's covered crime and court systems in North Georgia and rural Tennessee, landed an exclusive in-prison interview with a former cop convicted of killing his wife, exposed impropriety in an FBI-led, child-sex online sting and exposed corruption in government agencies. Earlier this year, Smith won the Malcolm Law Memorial Award for Investigative Reporting. She also won first place in ...

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