Charges dismissed in manslaughter case

Charges dismissed in manslaughter case

April 1st, 2011 by Todd South in News

Manslaughter charges were dismissed Thursday against a Chattanooga man who shot another man four times.

Assistant District Attorney Cameron Williams asked Criminal Court Judge Don Poole to dismiss a voluntary manslaughter charge against Andrew Harrison Graves, 24.

Williams characterized the June 17, 2010, shooting as an armed robbery attempt by Michael Newby and said Graves was defending himself.

In an interview after the hearing, Graves said he was "in fear of his life" when Newby, 24, held a 9 mm handgun on him and threatened to kill him.

Court records show that, on the night of the slaying, witnesses Morgan Fox and a juvenile female were watching a movie with Newby in his home at 1236 N. Concord St.

About 4 a.m., Newby left the room. A few minutes later, Graves knocked on the door, came in and sat on the couch.

About 20 minutes after that, there was another knock on the door. When the witnesses answered, a masked gunman came in and ordered everyone to the floor.

Graves fired, hitting the gunman - Newby - four times. Newby died of a head wound.

Williams told Poole that Newby had turned a black hooded sweatshirt around and torn holes in the hood to use as a mask. Investigators found him with a flashlight and handcuffs.

Four days before his death, Newby was charged in Chattanooga with having more than a pound of marijuana and a loaded handgun in his vehicle, according to Hamilton County Court records.

Newby was planning to go to Graves' home and rob him there with the help of the juvenile female, Williams told the judge, but instead had her call Graves and lure him to Newby's home.

Police arrested Graves a day later in Bradley County. Officers said he had a gun, LSD and a pound of marijuana. Bob Gault, spokesman for the Bradley County Sheriff's Office, said he could not reveal whether any charges had been filed against Graves.

In the shooting, Graves initially was charged with first-degree murder, but the charge was later lowered to voluntary manslaughter.

After the hearing, Graves denied the shooting had anything to do with drugs and said he'd gone to the home when the juvenile female called him. He said he didn't know Newby before the shooting.

"I still don't know what he looks like," he said.