Blood tests set for man in killing

Arundel police act after drug use reports

January 25, 2002|By Laura Barnhardt | Laura Barnhardt,SUN STAFF

Anne Arundel County police are testing the blood of a 26-year-old Glen Burnie man to determine whether he was under the influence of drugs Tuesday night when he was arrested and accused of fatally stabbing his father and seriously wounding his stepmother, a department spokesman said yesterday.

A search warrant to conduct the testing was obtained because witnesses told detectives that they suspected Charles Martin Grierson was under the influence of a drug when he was arrested at his parents' house immediately after the attack, said Lt. Joseph E. Jordan, a police spokesman.

Friends of the suspect -- one of whom said he was at the house at the time of the arrest -- have described Grierson as a PCP user.

Also yesterday, county police officials said they had no reason to question the judgment of officers who answered a 911 call from the couple's Glen Burnie house hours before the attack and found Grierson there alone.

Grierson is being held without bail at the county Detention Center in Annapolis, charged with first-degree murder and first-degree assault.

His father, Fred Charles Grierson, 62, a self-employed home improvement contractor, was found fatally stabbed in his home in the 100 block of St. James Drive about 9 p.m. Tuesday.

Fred Grierson's wife, Deborah, 42, was seen by neighbors fleeing the couple's home, screaming for help and bleeding from multiple stab wounds to her upper body. She was in serious but stable condition yesterday at Maryland Shock Trauma Center, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Police recovered at the house a large kitchen knife that they think was the weapon used, according to court charging documents.

Officers were dispatched to the Griersons' home at 5:45 p.m. Tuesday, after someone called 911 but hung up without speaking, Jordan said. Worried that the call might have come from a victim of domestic violence, officers checked the house. They found Charles Martin Grierson alone.

When officers asked Grierson why he had dialed 911, the man didn't answer the question but told the officers, "Everything is OK. I don't need police service," Jordan said.

Grierson told the three officers that he lived at the house with his father, though he also shared an apartment with a roommate in the 200 block of Wood Hill Drive, about a mile away, the spokesman added.

Officers said Grierson allowed them to look around the house, and that they found nothing out of place. The officers, seeking to determine whether the man was lucid, asked him the time and date and the name of the president, Jordan said. Grierson answered all questions correctly, he said.

"The officers didn't feel [Grierson] was exhibiting any signs he was going to hurt himself or others," said Jordan.

Officers must call for an ambulance if they believe a person is at risk of overdosing or in need of medical attention, Jordan said. And if officers find evidence of drug use, they can charge a suspect with possessing a drug or drug paraphernalia. But, Jordan said, "Officers can't arrest someone because they think they're high."

According to court documents, Charles Grierson had a short history of arrests on such charges as disorderly conduct and alcohol violations, but none had resulted in a conviction. He was given probation before judgment this month for failing to obey an officer, according to the court documents, which show that his probation is to expire next year.

After Grierson's arrest Tuesday night, his friends said he had a drug problem that started about six months ago when, they said, he began smoking PCP.

His roommate, Mike Frech, and another friend, Dave Herron, said that a few days before his arrest, the usually meticulous Grierson's behavior became bizarre and out of character.

"Sometimes, he wouldn't talk at all, and sometimes he'd want to talk you to death," Frech said. "He was acting real strange."

PCP use has been declining in the county, said Lt. Randall R. Jones, head of the county police narcotics and vice unit. The chemical -- which can stay in the body's tissue for weeks and trigger flashbacks -- causes users to disassociate from reality and have trouble comprehending what's happening around them, he said.

Violent tendencies and the inability to feel pain often accompany the high of PCP, which is generally dipped onto tobacco or leaves and smoked, Jones said.

To test Grierson for drug use, detectives obtained a search warrant Wednesday ordering that blood be drawn from the man.

The results are pending.

Sun staff writers Rona Kobell and Andrea F. Siegel contributed to this article.

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