Grand jury to hear murder case of Odenville Middle School librarian

ST. CLAIR COUNTY, AL (WBRC) - A grand jury will hear the murder and theft case against a man accused of stabbing Odenville Middle School's librarian and coach multiple times, in a dispute that arose out of a prostitution arrangement.

27-year-old D'Kota Chance Griffin is charged with intentional murder and second degree theft. He remains in the St. Clair County Jail in Ashville.

Griffin is accused of stabbing 46-year-old Michael Collins some 40 to 70 times on August 20.

In a preliminary hearing before Judge Alan Furr, St. Clair County sheriff's Investigator Wayne Layton testified about a very bloody crime scene and two statements from Griffin in which he explained an arrangement between the two: they would meet every third weekend, at which point Griffin would be paid $250 to strip.

This went on from August 2016 to April 2017, before Collins contacted Griffin again asking for "more"--such as oral sex and the use of restraints. The latest appointment, set for August 20, was laid out in a text conversation between the two uncovered during the investigation.

Griffin said in his statement the two met at Collins' new home on Evergreen Road in Springville. When Collins demanded more than they agreed upon, a dispute became physical: Collins stabbed, then pulled a pistol on, Griffin, according to the statement.

Griffin said he stabbed Collins multiple times, and Collins eventually stopped moving. Collins died five minutes or so later.

Griffin testified he panicked, but also wanted his $250. So he took Collins' debit card, iPhone, iPad and school issued laptop. Griffin admitted using the debit card to buy gas at a Texaco in Eastaboga, and to buy him and his girlfriend lunch at Betty's Barbecue in Anniston, before cutting up the card and throwing it away.

After investigators took the first of the two statements, Layton says Griffin led them to where he threw away the knife--which he had taken from his girlfriend's home--and the knife was recovered. A second knife, one used by Collins, was found at the girlfriend's home.

The laptop had been recovered on the side of Highway 21 in Oxford by a public works employee who saw the initials "OMS" and assumed it stood for Oxford Middle School, so he took it to that school.

The case began when the principal reported Collins hadn't come to work that day at Odenville Middle. He and two school resource officers went to Collins' home, and that's where they discovered the crime scene.

Defense attorney Dalton Livingston asked the judge to delay sending the case to the grand jury. Livingston argued the case, by Layton's own admission, was still ongoing, and a lot of evidence was still in the hands of the state department of forensics. Livingston also pointed out the pathologist report hadn't been completed or received. Furr denied Livingston's request and bound the case over to a grand jury.

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