D.A. Says Convicted Murderer Who Killed Intruder With Scissors Acted In Self Defense

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The district attorney says a convicted murderer will not be charged in the stabbing death of a man that was found in his apartment last week.

District Attorney Scott Thomas says Donald Smith acted in self defense in stabbing Ralph Whitney with a pair of scissors last Thursday morning.

It happened around 4:00 a.m. at Smith's apartment on Shipman Road.

Thomas says there was a history of confrontation between the victim and members of Smith's family, including one just days earlier at a convenience store. Whitney was convicted of trespass at the apartment in 2013 and served jail time, according to Thomas.

The D.A. says Smith feared that Whitney might harm him because of that conviction.

But Whitney's brother told WITN News this morning that Smith "got away with murder."

Smith was convicted for a 1989 murder in Edgecombe County, and was released early just last year. Thomas says the man's previous conviction has nothing to do with their decision not to charge him in this case.

Thomas says the investigation shows Smith and his wife awoke to find someone taking a shower in the apartment. Smith confronted Whitney, telling him to leave. The D.A. says Whitney charged the man, who backed into the living room. The two struggled, and Thomas says Smith grabbed a pair of scissors from a nearby table and stabbed Whitney one time.

The D.A. says the victim went back to the bathroom and retrieved some clothes and left. Thomas says they believe Whitney got into the home through an unlocked door, while police found the man about 200 yard away, lying on the ground. He later died from blood loss due to an internal injury.


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A man who fatally stabbed an intruder in his apartment says "it wasn't intentional" and that he is sorry for the man's family.

Donald Smith talked to WITN's April Davis this afternoon.

The stabbing happened around 4:00 a.m. Thursday at Kelley Park Apartments on Shipman Road. Smith says he and his wife awoke to find Ralph Whitney taking a shower in their apartment.

Smith says, "He invaded in my home about 4 o'clock that morning and I approached him and asked him why was he in my house and he cursed at me and he charged at me . During the tussle I grabbed the scissors and I stabbed him with the scissors."

Smith says Whitney is the father of their granddaughter, who lives there with the couple's 29-year-old daughter.

When police arrived, Whitney had left the apartment. They followed a trail of blood and found the wounded man at the Eastwood Apartment Complex where he was unresponsive.

Police say Whitney was first taken to CarolinaEast Medical Center in New Bern, and then to Vidant Medical Center where he later died.

Police say they have been in contact with the District Attorney's Office concerning the case.


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Police say an intruder was stabbed to death, the second fatal intrusion this week in Eastern Carolina.

Havelock police say they got a call around 4:00 a.m. Thursday for an intruder inside an apartment at Kelly Park Apartments on Shipman Road. They learned that the 911 caller's husband was involved in a confrontation with the man and had stabbed him.

When officers arrived, they found that the intruder had left the apartment. Officers followed a trail of blood to the Eastwood Apartment Complex where the man was found unresponsive.

Police say Ralph Whitney was first taken to CarolinaEast Medical Center in New Bern, and then to Vidant Medical Center where he later died.

Police say they have been in contact with the District Attorney's Office concerning the case.

Earlier this week, an Onslow County man was shot to death by the homeowner after deputies say he forced his way into a Hubert home. The district attorney in that case said the shooting was justified.


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