Charges won't be filed in stabbing death of Havelock man

Published: Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at 11:16 AM.

A Havelock man acted in self-defense and won’t face charges in connection with a stabbing death last week, according to the District Attorney Scott Thomas. 

Thomas announced in a release Wednesday morning that Donald Morris Smith, 47, of Havelock, “acted in justifiable self-defense” in the stabbing of Ralph Edward Whitney, 37, of Havelock, on the morning of Feb. 27 in apartment G-4 at Kelly Park Apartments on Shipman Road in Havelock.

According to Thomas, police responded to the Smith residence after receiving a call from Chereless Smith, wife of Donald Smith, reporting that an intruder had been found inside the apartment at 4 a.m. Donald Smith had been sleeping when he heard someone in the shower and a man’s voice.

Whitney, who had had a relationship with the Smiths’ 29-year-old daughter and was the father of the Smiths’ 2-year-old granddaughter, was inside the apartment, and Donald Smith told him to leave, Thomas said. At that point, Whitney charged Smith, and a physical confrontation ensued that spread into the hallway. Smith grabbed a pair of scissors from a nearby table and stabbed Whitney once, according to Thomas. Whitney went back to the bathroom, grabbed his clothes and left.

When Havelock police arrived, they followed a blood trail and located Whitney alive but unresponsive at the nearby Eastwood Apartment Complex. Whitney was transported to CarolinaEast Medical Center in New Bern and then to Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, where he later died.

Thomas said that Whitney entered the apartment through an unlocked door.

“There had been a history of confrontations between Mr. Whitney and members of the Smith family, including one just a few days earlier at a convenience store in Havelock,” Thomas said in the release. “Mr. Smith previously told Mr. Whitney to stay away from the residence and from his family.”

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