Murder Case Delay OK’d
Attorney For Defendant In Graessle Slaying Needed Time
Posted: February 8, 2013
HARRISONBURG — A Staunton man accused of murdering another man outside a Harrisonburg apartment in December will have to wait for more than a month before learning whether his case will go to a grand jury.
Dallas Chaplin, 19, is charged with first-degree murder in the slaying of Ben Graessle, a 2011 Spotswood High School graduate. Chaplin also faces a charge of felony use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. If convicted on the murder charge, he faces up to life in prison.
Chaplin was scheduled to appear in Rockingham County General District Court on Thursday.
A judge appointed his attorney, Bill Eldridge, on Jan. 29. Eldridge requested a delay so he could have more time to sift through the evidence in the case.
Eldridge declined to comment.
A general district court clerk rescheduled the preliminary hearing for March 20. If a judge finds probable cause, the case will go to a Rockingham County grand jury for consideration of indictment.
Police say Chaplin shot and killed Graessle, 19, around 1 a.m. on Dec. 23 outside an apartment building where the victim lived at The Commons, located on the 800 block of Port Republic Road.
A warrant for his arrest was issued on Dec. 26 and he was captured the next day at a home in Staunton following a three-hour standoff with police.
The hearing for his co-defendant, Givi Dudunia, 19, also was postponed until March 20.
Police say Dudunia hid the alleged shooter and the suspected murder weapon at his home on Terrace Street in Staunton.
Dudunia is charged with misdemeanor accessory after the fact to first-degree murder and misdemeanor accessory after the fact to felony use of a firearm in commission of a felony.
Chaplin and Dudunia are being held in Rockingham County Jail without bond.
Contact Pete DeLea at 574-6278 or email@example.com