A dispute over something on television triggered a family brawl that led a Columbus man to fatally stab his grandmother and her pet, police said Friday.
That was a detective’s testimony in the case against Gregory Wharton Jr., 26, who’s charged with murder in the Monday death of 77-year-old Lystra Lewis on Wedel Drive.
Wharton then fled to Harris County, where sheriff’s deputies caught him Wednesday about six miles away from Wedel Drive, Sgt. Danielle Danforth testified Friday in court.
The family fight reported at 5:55 p.m. Monday began when Wharton became upset about what was on TV and started arguing with his mother, and then fought with her, Danforth said. The fight escalated when Wharton’s brother intervened, trying to get the suspect off his mother, the detective said.
The mother and brother were able to escape to a bedroom, but Wharton went outside, got into the room through a window, and started breaking things, the officer said.
She said the witnesses last saw the grandmother in the home’s hallway, and they did not see her stabbing.
Police arriving 15 minutes after the 911 call saw Wharton running from the house, and chased him through the neighborhood before he got away, Danforth said, adding the suspect left a blood trail from Wedel Drive to Whitesville Road.
Searching the home, police found the grandmother in the front foyer, stabbed in the neck, they said. The diminutive dog, which officers have described as possibly a terrier puppy or Shih Tzu mix, was found near the back door, stabbed in the chest, investigators said.
Danforth said that when Wharton was captured, police searched his book bag, finding a shirt and pants with blood on them, plus a cell phone and wallet. They did not find a knife or other weapon, she said.
She said the mother and brother both were treated at the hospital for the injuries they sustained fighting with Wharton.
Besides murder, Wharton is charged with using a knife to commit a felony, aggravated cruelty to animals, and two counts of battery involving family violence. Judge Al Whitaker ordered him held without bond as the case goes to Muscogee Superior Court.