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No charges to be filed in fatal Havelock stabbing

By WCTI Staff
Published On: Feb 28 2014 10:29:55 AM CST
Updated On: Mar 05 2014 06:20:26 PM CST

The district attorney has announced that no charges will be filed against a Havelock man who fatally stabbed his granddaughter's father.

HAVELOCK, CRAVEN COUNTY -

The district attorney has announced that no charges will be filed against a Havelock man who fatally stabbed his granddaughter's father.

According to District Attorney Scott Thomas, no charges will be filed against 47-year-old Donald Morris Smith because he fatally stabbed 37-year-old Ralph Edward Whitney (pictured above) in "justifiable self-defense."

Havelock Police said Smith's wife called 911 at about 4 a.m. on Feb. 27 to report a home intruder at their apartment on Shipman Road.

The Smiths told officers they were woken up by the sound of someone taking a shower in the apartment, and that they heard a man's voice, Thomas told NewsChannel 12.

Donald Smith then got up, found Whitney in the shower, and confronted him-- telling him to leave, said Thomas. But Whitney allegedly charged Smith, who had backed up into the hallway to the living room.

The two men then got into a physical struggle, prompting Smith to grab a pair of scissors from a nearby table and stab Whitney one time, Thomas said.

Whitney then went back to the bathroom, took his clothes, and left the apartment, Thomas explained. Officers followed a trail of blood and found Whitney about 600 feet from the apartment, lying on the ground. He was taken to Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, where he died from "blood loss due to internal injury," said Thomas.

Whitney’s brother, Mitchell Whitney said, the pair didn't really get along but Smith allowed Whitney to stay in his home from time to time.

"I just don't understand why Donald would do such a thing when he knows my brother would never harm him and never will harm him,” he said.

There was no sign of forced entry into the Smith's apartment, Thomas said. Investigators believe Whitney had entered through an unlocked door.

"There had been a history of confrontations between Mr. Whitney and members of the Smith family, including one just a few days earlier at a convenience store in Havelock," Thomas said. "Mr. Smith previously told Mr. Whitney to stay away from the residence and from his family."

Mitchell said he feels justice has not been served for the death of his brother.

"He didn't have to die. He didn't need to die, and rather he meant it or not he shouldn't have stabbed him in the first place because he knew exactly who he was,” he explained.

Whitney was previously convicted for trespass at the Smiths' apartment in October 2013 and served time in jail, Thomas said. Because of the history, Smith told investigators he was afraid that Whitney might harm his family.

Mitchell said he feels justice has not been served for the death of his brother.

"He didn't have to die. He didn't need to die, and rather he meant it or not he shouldn't have stabbed him in the first place because he knew exactly who he was,” he explained.

Based on physical evidence at the scene of the fatal stabbing, witness statements, autopsy results and other information, Thomas said Smith's actions were justifiable and that he acted in self-defense.

"It is an unfortunate and tragic event, but there does not appear to be a basis for criminal charges," Thomas said.

Whitney and the Smiths' 29-year-old daughter have a 3-year-old daughter together. The 29-year-old lives with the Smiths, but was not home during the stabbing, said Thomas.

 

PREVIOUS STORY:

A Havelock man fatally stabbed his granddaughter's father in self-defense during a home invasion, said family.

According to Havelock Police, 37-year-old Ralph Edward Whitney (pictured above) was the home intruder killed.

Lisa Wallace Smith is the wife of the man who stabbed Whitney.

"I'm very sorry for what took place, but my husband didn't really mean to take Ralph's life," said Smith.

Smith said it all started at about 4 a.m. Thursday, when she and her husband heard someone in their home at Kelly Park Apartments on Shipman Road in Havelock. When her husband went to check it out, he found the uninvited Whitney in the shower, Smith told NewsChannel 12.

Police said Smith's husband and Whitney then got into an argument, before Smith's husband stabbed Whitney. Smith then called 911.

"[I] was scared really because [Whitney] was in a rage. He was always telling him and other people he was going to kill us," Smith said.

Police said Whitney left the apartment after he was stabbed. But officers were able to eventually find him by following a blood trail to the area of the Eastwood Apartment Complex. Police said Whitley was still alive but unresponsive. He later died at Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, according to investigators.

Smith said her family had known Whitney for a long time. In fact, Whitney was the father to Smith and her husband's soon-to-be 3-year-old granddaughter.

"I knew [Whitney] for several years because of my daughter-- both of them have a little daughter together," Smith said.

Smith added that despite her husband stabbing Whitney, both of them are very sorry Whitney is dead.

Police said Smith's husband is currently not facing charges, but the investigation is ongoing.

NewsChannel 12 also talked with a friend of Whitney.

"I mean, I had nothing against him. He was a good person," said Demetre Frazier. "[But] his mind, you know, his mind wasn't probably all the way there."

PREVIOUS STORY:

Police said a Craven County man stabbed a home intruder, who later died.

According to Havelock Police, officials received a 911 call at about 4 a.m. Thursday from a resident at Kelly Park Apartments on Shipman Road. The call was about an intruder inside the apartment unit.

Investigators said the caller's husband was then involved in a confrontation with the home intruder, identified as 37-year-old Ralph Edward Whitney. The husband stabbed Whitney, who left the scene when officers arrived, police said.

Officers were able to eventually find Whitney by following a blood trail to the area of the Eastwood Apartment Complex. Police said Whitley was still alive but unresponsive.

Paramedics took Whitney to CarolinaEast Medical Center. He was later transferred to Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, where he died, according to investigators.

Police said they are working with the District Attorney’s Office to decide whether charges will be filed. Investigators said they have interviewed witnesses, collected evidence, and are making progress in the case.

No other details were released.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Havelock Police Department at 252-447-3212. Those who wish to remain anonymous can call the Police Tip Line at 252-463-7115, or go to www.havelocknc.us, then select 'Police' and 'Tips.'