Police Link Gun To Slaying
Investigators Say Co-Defendant Hid Accused Killer, Suspected Murder Weapon
Posted: December 29, 2012
HARRISONBURG — Harrisonburg investigators said Friday they have the gun they believe was used Sunday to kill 19-year-old Ben Graessle outside his apartment building in the city.
During a bond hearing in Rockingham County General District Court Friday, investigators said that Givi Dudunia, a co-defendant in the case, hid the alleged shooter, Dallas Chaplin, and the suspected murder weapon, at his home on Terrace Street in Staunton. Police say they believe the gun, found during a search of Dudunia’s home, is the murder weapon because it’s the same caliber used to shoot Graessle.
Captured In Staunton
Chaplin, who was captured Thursday night at a home on Peabody Street in Staunton, is charged with first-degree murder in the slaying of Graessle, a 2011 Spotswood High School graduate. Chaplin also faces a charge of felony use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.
Police say Chaplin shot and killed Graessle around 1 a.m. on Dec. 23 outside an apartment building where the victim lived at The Commons, located in the 800 block of Port Republic Road in Harrisonburg.
During Friday’s bond hearing, Dudunia testified that he and Chaplin, both 19, left the scene of the killing together and that he dropped Chaplin off at a laundromat in Staunton. Dudunia was arrested later the day of the shooting and charged with misdemeanor assault and battery. Sources say Chaplin shot Graessle while Dudunia was assaulting him.
On Friday, prosecutors filed two new charges against Dudunia — 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. Additional charges could be filed, sources say. Both he and Chaplin are from Staunton.
“They were together all evening,” Rockingham County Commonwealth’s Attorney Marsha Garst told Judge Richard Claybrook. “They’re buddies.”
Claybrook ordered Dudunia and Chaplin, both 19, held without bond pending their Feb. 7 court hearings. Dudunia is scheduled for trial that day and Chaplin is scheduled for a preliminary hearing.
Contact Pete DeLea at 574-6278 or email@example.com