Pulaski County judge sends case against man accused of killing his mom to grand jury

The grand jury convenes in the spring

A Pulaski County man accused of killing his mother will go before a grand jury this spring.

PULASKI COUNTY, Va. – The case against the man accused of killing a Pulaski County woman will go before a grand jury in the spring. A judge found the Commonwealth presented probable cause for the second-degree murder charge to be presented to a grand jury.

William Tyler Griffith, 28, is accused of murdering Deborah Reed Griffith, 58, inside a Dublin home in November 2021. Court proceedings revealed the two are mother and son.

During his preliminary hearing Wednesday, Pulaski County Commonwealth Attorney’s James Crandall and Nicole Cumberland presented a case of a strained mother-son relationship that resulted in murder.

Several witnesses testified including William’s brother who was home at the time of the murder.

Adam Griffith, 26, says he lived at the home on Shepherd Drive in Dublin with his mother and brother.

While he and his brother “didn’t spend a lot of time together,” they were mostly cordial. Meanwhile, William and his mom were “good sometimes and then not so good” in other times, Adam testified. The two argued a lot.

Adam described his brother as a heavy driver.

He says on Nov. 23, 2021, he witnessed an argument between his brother and mother. Specific details were not shared in court Wednesday.

Upon returning home from dinner at Claytor Lake around 10/10:30 the same night, Adam says he shared with his mom his annoyance of her and his brother’s constant back-and-forth before retiring to the living room couch to rest.

A few hours later (the early morning hours of Nov. 24, 2021) his brother would allegedly shoot and kill his mother. The gunshots awakened Adam who says he ran to the backyard and called police unaware of exactly what was happening inside.

The medical examiner who performed the autopsy testified Deborah, a long-time employee of the county school system, was shot nine times. All gunshot wounds were lethal except for one.

The cause of death was declared gunshot wounds to the head and torso. The manner of death was ruled a homicide.

When Pulaski County Sheriff deputies arrived on the scene both brothers were outside the home.

The responding deputy says William confessed he “had to shoot mom,” adding that he “couldn’t deal with her anymore.” He was detained as the investigation began.

Adam was never placed in handcuffs but was questioned by authorities on the scene.

Deborah was found in a back bedroom in a pool of blood. A handgun was found on a nearby bed, investigators testified.

Investigators were called to the Dublin home and a search warrant was obtained. Pictures of the scene were taken and evidence was collected.

Tyler Griffith was taken to the police station and questioned by an investigator.

While he was somewhat confused on the date, investigators believed him to be of sound mind and Mirandized him. He agreed to their questioning.

During their 20-something minute interview, Tyler Griffith detailed his strong alcohol use but said his last drink was about 16 hours prior.

Hours before when deputies first arrived on the scene they testified observing him to be “shaking.” He shared with the investigator during formal questioning he was “shaking” because he was suffering from Delirium Tremens -- a form of alcohol withdrawal.

When asked what happened that evening he told a strange story about rangers playing a major role in him harming a body double of his mother, and that his home and car had been destroyed.

He said he and his mom were arguing when he pushed her out of his room before shooting her about twelve times. He even described the gun type and color to the investigator.

The Commonwealth felt all of these details prove probable cause.

The defense felt poor investigative work was done and motioned a strike of the charge. His confusion over the date, strange confession, story inconsistencies, evidence left behind at the scene, no investigation of the “rangers” and mainly the lack of effort put into investigating his brother, Adam were reasons for the proposed strike.

William’s defense team felt he was not of sound mind to waive his Miranda rights, which was obviously based on the aforementioned issues.

Adam was the only other person home at the time besides his mother and brother.

The judge disagreed and advanced the case to a grand jury.

Deputy CWA Nicole Cumberland said the next Pulaski County grand jury convenes in the spring.

About the Author:

McKinley Strother joined the WSLS 10 News team in June 2020. He anchors 10 News at 6 and 11 on Saturdays and Sundays and you'll also catch him reporting during the week.