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North Carolina man suspected of killing a fellow motorcycle club member who was described as being “like a brother” to him was denied bond

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Keith Epps

A North Carolina man suspected of killing a fellow motorcycle club member who was described as being “like a brother” to him was denied bond Tuesday in Stafford County General District Court.

George R. Batts, 39, of Richlands, N.C., is accused of killing 47-year-old Ely Grimes of Fredericksburg on Jan. 17 outside 1130 International Parkway off U.S. 17 in southern Stafford. Both men were members of the Tuckahoe Motorcycle Club and were in Stafford that weekend attending an event for the club.

Grimes was shot three times in the chest for reasons that have not come out in court hearings or records. He died a few days later in a local hospital.

Batts was shot multiple times by deputies who responded to the incident. Police said Batts pointed his gun at deputies prior to being shot He has had several surgeries and is still suffering from his injuries and using a walker.

According to evidence presented, Batts and Grimes were close friends and seemed to have been getting along during the event. It is not clear what led to Grimes being shot that morning in the parking lot.

A club member who testified Tuesday said he wasn’t aware that anything had happened until Batts woke him and told him he’d killed Grimes.

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The man, who said his club nickname is “Shug White,” said he picked up Grimes’ .45-caliber handgun that was laying beside him and put it in a filing cabinet prior to the deputies’ arrival. The man was vague about other things that were said that morning, saying the whole morning was “kind of a blur” to him.

Prosecutor Charise Pastor told Judge Jane Reynolds that one of the first arriving deputies was tending to Grimes when Batts came out from behind a truck waving his gun around and “acting irrationally.” She said she looked at the deputy and said, “Come and get me.”

Pastor said Batts was shot initially after he pointed his gun at deputies and two bystanders. She said he continued to reach for his gun while on the ground after being shot, and deputies opened fire again after he refused to stop.

She said that when deputies asked Grimes why he was shot, the victim replied, “I don’t know.”

Defense attorney Joseph Flood argued that Batts deserves a bond. He said Batts would live with his father in North Carolina and could be adequately monitored by GPS technology.

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Flood said that Batts has no criminal history or acts of violence, a good reputation and is a “law-abiding rule follower. What he’s accused of is completely out of character,” Flood said.

Flood also hinted that Batts will claim self-defense and cited his successful career in the Air Force and as a defense contractor.

Most importantly, Flood argued, Batts could get medical treatment on bond that he is not receiving in the Rappahannock Regional Jail.

“He’s a shell of the man he was and his condition continues to deteriorate,” Flood said.

Pastor argued that there is a presumption against bond for Batts that had not been overcome.

“The victim was very much like family to him,” Pastor said. “If he was willing to kill him, how can we assure the safety of his own family?”

Judge Reynolds said she was concerned about the medical care Batts may not be receiving, but said her concerns were not enough to let him out on bond. The judge noted that Batts has no ties to the Fredericksburg area.

Supporters of both Batts and Grimes packed the courtroom Tuesday for what had been scheduled as a preliminary hearing. But Pastor requested and received a continuance, saying the DNA and ballistics evidence had not yet come back from the state lab.

The preliminary hearing is now scheduled to take place Oct. 26.

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