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Martinsburg man sentenced to 40 years in 2011 stabbing death

Thomas A. Grantham was convicted in June in the slaying of Andre Jackson and the wounding of Jacques Taylor

August 27, 2012|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD | matthew.umstead@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — One of two men who was convicted in June in the 2011 stabbing death of a man and wounding of another was sentenced Monday in Berkeley County Circuit Court to more than 40 years in prison.

Thomas A. Grantham, 36, was ordered by 23rd Judicial Circuit Judge Christopher C. Wilkes to serve 40 years in prison for his second-degree murder conviction, in addition to sentences of one to three years and two to 10 years for attempted murder and malicious assault convictions. Each sentence is to be served consecutively. 

More than $8,300 in restitution also was ordered to be paid by Grantham and co-defendant James G. Cross Jr. 

Cross 34, was convicted of the same felony offenses, but now faces a possible life sentence in prison because he has at least two prior felony convictions, according to court documents filed Aug. 20 by Berkeley County Prosecuting Attorney Pamela Games-Neely.

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Cross and Grantham, both of Martinsburg, were indicted on first-degree murder charges in the slaying of Andre Jackson, 21, of Hedgesville, W.Va., and the wounding of Jacques Taylor of Kearneysville, W.Va.

The attack occurred on Rock Cliff Drive in the early hours of April 23, 2011.

Cross’ scheduled sentencing on the convictions Monday was deferred until after a jury trial can be held to determine if he was previously convicted of felonies, as Games-Neely has alleged in the recividist information she filed. 

A jury trial was scheduled by Wilkes for Oct. 23.

Wilkes, who heard tearful statements from Jackson’s mother, grandmother and stepfather before sentencing Grantham, noted the defendant’s “nonstop” criminal history could not be ignored, citing 17 arrests in less than 20 years. 

Games-Neely, who said she was unable to file a similar recividist information against Grantham, said the deadly attack was the most senseless crime she has prosecuted in a long time.

Jackson’s mother, Teresa Wallace, told the court that her son was celebrating a friend’s birthday the night he was attacked.

“He didn’t deserve to die like this,” said Wallace, who noted her son’s young daughter would never get the chance to get to know her father. 

Witnesses testified at Cross’ and Grantham’s trial that Cross stabbed Jackson to death while he sat in the passenger seat and Grantham wounded Taylor in the driver’s seat in the vehicle they were in on Rock Cliff Drive near Polo Green Drive.

  According to testimony, Cross and Grantham didn’t know Jackson and Taylor until they met that night at the Brickhouse Bar and Grill at 214 Mid Atlantic Parkway. They exchanged words outside the bar when it closed at 3 a.m., continued their verbal argument while still in their vehicles at a nearby gas station, then ended up on Rock Cliff Drive.



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