published Saturday, March 15th, 2014

Killer stabbed Dalton clerk in the back

A Dalton convenience store clerk's killer plunged a knife into him when he was not looking, according to a preliminary autopsy.

Whitfield County, Ga., Coroner Bobbie Dixon said the preliminary report shows that someone stabbed 37-year-old Dahyabhai Kalidas Chaudhari in the back. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has ruled the death a homicide, she said.

Dixon, who received her information from the GBI, said she did not know whether the killer stabbed Chaudhari more than once.

Chaudhari's funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Sunday at the Ponders Melrose Chapel in Dalton, Ga.

Chaudhari died just before midnight Sunday at the Hi-Tech Fuel convenience store, located at 3385 Airport Road in Dalton. After a two-day manhunt, members of the U.S. Marshals Service arrested his alleged killer, 21-year-old Skyy Raven Marie Mims, at a home in Bartow County, Ga.

Investigators say they don't know why Mims was in Dalton on Sunday night. A Detroit native, she moved to Atlanta about a month ago to make connections in the entertainment industry. She is an aspiring rapper, model, fashion designer and dancer.

Chaudhari's body was surrounded by a pool of blood; tape covered his eyes and mouth, police said.

Investigators identified Mims after looking at the store's surveillance video. She is being held at the Whitfield County Jail. She was supposed to appear in Superior Court on Friday for a bond hearing, but her attorneys cancelled the appointment.

Public Defender Brandon Sparks said he needs more time to prepare. He did not meet with Mims until Thursday, and he wants to gather evidence before arguing that Mims should be able to leave jail before her trial.

"It would be in Ms. Mims' best interest to delay that hearing for now," Sparks said.

During the bond hearing, Sparks will try to convince Judge Jack Partain that Mims will not commit a crime while out of jail, and that she won't try to run away.

Earlier this week, GBI Special Agent in Charge Greg Ramey said that, to the best of his knowledge, Mims did not have a criminal record before Sunday's incident.

Right now, Sparks does not know when the bond hearing will take place. He said Partain's next available date is April 8.

For now, the attorney said he is trying to talk with everyone close to Mims. He has spoken with her parents in Michigan, and he is tracking down other family members who live throughout the country.

"The allegations are very serious," he said. "The state's got a little bit of a head start, as far as the investigation goes."

Contact staff writer Tyler Jett at 423-757-6476 or at tjett@timesfreepress.com.

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