Two men held in stabbing death

First Posted: 7/3/2009

The stabbing death of a Mount Airy resident in a domestic-related incident early Friday has led to murder charges against two other local men, authorities say.
Smitty Phillip Davis, 43, was found unresponsive in a parking lot behind his apartment at 1504 S. Main St. after city police were dispatched to that location shortly before 1 a.m. in reference to a possible assault. The deceased had suffered lacerations and puncture wounds to his abdominal area from a knife, investigators say.
There was a significant amount of blood loss, Capt. Dale Watson of the Mount Airy Police Department said Friday in describing the scene, located behind a row of businesses in the Bannertown section near the Ararat River bridge. The discovery launched a massive probe in the early morning hours Friday which also involved the State Bureau of Investigation and its crime-scene unit and the Surry County Sheriffs Office in addition to Mount Airy police.
At that point, the investigation just branched out with all the information they had received, Watson said. A police dog was brought to the site at one point as part of the probe.
Within a matter of hours, the two suspects were in custody, according to Detective P.M. Barker, the lead investigator on the case for city police.
Both Michael Gray Chandler, 45, of 106 Stout Lane in Pilot Mountain, and Darrell Franklin Wilson, 35, of 121 Lynwood Drive, Mount Airy, are charged with murder in the incident. However, it was not known Friday whether the offenses will be first-degree or a less-severe level.
The degree will be decided at a later date by the district attorneys office, pending any new developments in the investigation, Barker said Friday afternoon. In the meantime, Chandler and Wilson were transported to the Surry County Jail about 12:30 p.m. Friday and ordered held without privilege of bond.
While the investigation was still ongoing to piece together exactly what led up to the death, the detective said that a domestic dispute among the three men, who were acquaintances, is believed to have been involved. It had been an ongoing situation that just recently escalated, Barker said.
Sources close to the dead mans family indicated Friday that Chandler is now married to a woman who once was the girlfriend of Davis.
Basically these two people (Chandler and Wilson) arrived at the victims apartment and an altercation ensued, Barker said, which involved the use of the knife. And the victim was stabbed and cut multiple times.
Police spent hours Friday collecting evidence and interviewing witnesses at the scene. Davis lived in one of several apartments located on the second floor of a building housing a hair-styling shop, a consignment store and a Latino establishment.
Barker said one item that linked the crime to Chandler and Wilson was the fact that the vehicle they were in had been encountered at a police traffic checkpoint near the murder scene just before the incident. That helped investigators establish that the two persons of interest had been in close proximity to Davis residence near the time he was killed, Barker said.
As investigators worked Friday morning in the parking lot bordered by yellow tape, curious neighbors watched from nearby homes. All who were contacted said they had no idea what had occurred.
One elderly man living within a short distance of the crime scene, who declined to give his name, said that he did not hear any altercation taking place overnight. But he awoke Friday morning to see a large number of officers in the nearby parking lot.
Surviving family members of Davis, who had worked in construction, include a daughter.
Barker said that in addition to the SBI and Surry Sheriffs Office, the Surry EMS and Mount Airy Rescue Squad assisted at the scene of Fridays death.
Contact Tom Joyce at [email protected] or at 719-1924.

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