Son, father, stepmother dead in family altercation in Abingdon, Virginia

Becky Campbell • Jul 25, 2018 at 7:06 PM

A Tazewell, Virginia, man with mental health issues beat and stabbed his father and stepmother, then died from a gunshot delivered by his father in self defense.

The bloody scene was discovered by the aunt of the woman killed, according to a 911 call recording released by the Washington County, Virginia, Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff Fred Newman said the three victims were James “Jim” Robert Grace, 73, and Carolyn Christine “Chris” Grace, 64, of 18128 Brekenridge Court, Abingdon, Virginia, and Jamie Grant Grace, 38, 178 Rogers Drive, Apt 19C Tazewell.

Sheriff’s deputies responded to the scene Saturday morning after Chris Grace’s aunt arrived at the house, found the door open and three people lying on the floor dead. One of the victims was lying in the doorway, and the woman told the dispatcher she initially thought the man was asleep. When she got closer, she saw blood and two others lying on the floor inside.

Newman said neighbors indicated Jamie Grace, who was the son of James Grace and step son of Chris Grace came to the residence Friday afternoon, left, then returned. Around 10:30 p.m., neighbors heard what they thought were fireworks, but Newman said it turns out the sound was gunshots.

The deaths were reported by Arbutus Nichols, according to the 911 call, around 11:47 a.m. Saturday

“I stopped to see my niece and there’s people here, and they’ve been murdered,” Nichols said on the call. “There’s blood everywhere. Oh, God, what happened. Where’s Chris. There’s the gun. Oh, Lord.”

The woman went on to say she saw three people and described the scene to the dispatcher. Excerpts from the call to 911 were:

  • “The door’s open. There’s a man in the door, There’s a woman near the door. I see a gun on the floor. I don’t find my niece and I don’t know where she’s at.”
  • “I have never seen anything like this in my life.”
  • “There is a gun on the floor in the house. I can see it from the door. It’s a pistol.”
  • ”I did not go in the house. There’s one laying across the front door. I would have to go over him to get in the house, and I’m not but I don’t think anybody’s alive.”
  • ”There is blood everywhere.”
  • ”I haven’t talked to her for a week or two. I just had the time, and I thought I’d come by and visit. I parked my car on the road and I walked to the porch.”
  • ”I saw someone laying across the door and i thought he was asleep and then I saw blood. i looked in teh door and i saw a woman and another man and they had blood all over them.”
  • ”I’m at the car. I’m not going down there no more. I’m parked on teh road in front of the house.”
  • ”I think the one in the door might be the son of Jim Grace. I can’t tell the other two, I can’t see their faces. The lady is laying face down and the man is laying on his back but I can’t see his face.”
  • ”I’m by myself and I’m 80 years old. Please hurry and send somebody.”
  • ”Who done that? Why did I have to find them?”

Newman said the scene indicated Jim Grace tried to defend himself and his wife.

“The preliminary autopsy results indicate that James Robert Grace died from multiple knife stab wounds to the upper torso and blunt force trauma to the head by a baseball bat. Carolyn Christine Grace died as result of multiple knife stab wounds to the upper torso and blunt force trauma to the head,” Newman said in a press release issued Wednesday afternoon.

“According to preliminary autopsy results Jamie Grant Grace died as a result of a single gunshot wound to the head from a .22 Magnum handgun,” Newman said in the release.

From examining the crime scene and other evidence, Newman said investigators determined an altercation occurred, Jamie Grace left the residence, went to his vehicle, got a baseball bat and re-entered the residence. There was an assault in which a physical altercation occurred with Jim and Chris Grace being severely beaten and stabbed.

“Prior to expiring, Mr. James Grace was able to produce a handgun firing three shots at his son, mortally wounding him with a single gunshot wound to the head,” Newman said.

Newman said Jamie Grace was voluntarily admitted to a local mental health facility in early July for a possible drug overdose related to a suicide attempt. and was released around July 10. Other records showed that the younger Grace had been involuntarily admitted to a mental health facility in 2002 and 2006. Newman did not specify the reason for those commitments.




Recommended for You

    Johnson City Press Videos