Second suspect pleads guilty in murder of Archdale man


Phillip Lee Mabe, 35, (far left) was found guilty of first-degree murder late Thursday afternoon. (Pictured to the right includes Brandi Lea Grainger, 22, Nancy Grainger, 63, and Dylan Edwin Boston, 23)

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ARCHDALE, N.C. — A second suspect charged in the 2008 death of an elderly Archdale man has plead guilty to charges of first-degree murder, deputies said Friday.

A judge on Thursday accepted a plea arrangement from the lawyers of Phillip Lee Mabe, 35, of High Point, who is one of four co-defendants accused in the death of 72-year-old Paul Donald Grainger. The victim’s 63-year-old wife, Nancy Grainger, and 22-year-old adopted daughter, Brandi Lea Grainger, are among three others accused in his death.

As part of Mabe’s plea deal, the death penalty was eliminated as a possible sentence.

Brandi Grainger was sentenced to life in prison without parole after being found guilty of first-degree murder in October. Nancy Grainger and the fourth suspect, Dylan Edwin Boston, 23, of High Point, are still awaiting trial in the case.

Before Brandi’s trial, Boston accepted a plea arrangement to testify against his three co-defendants. The deal eliminated the death penalty as a possible sentencing in Boston’s trial. Nancy Grainger could still face the death penalty.

In opening arguments, the county’s assistant district attorney said Brandi did not directly kill Paul. Instead, the attorney argued, one of two men Brandi took to the house committed the murder.

In Friday’s news release, deputies said the victim’s suspected relatives made an arrangement with the two co-defendants. The arrangement included a promise that each suspect would receive a portion of the insurance proceeds from a policy on Paul Grainger’s life, deputies said.

Brandi Grainger was technically found guilty on two separate counts of murder. One was first-degree murder with malice, premeditation and deliberation, and the other was first-degree murder occurring while a felony was committed.

Paul Grainger was found dead on the kitchen floor of the family’s Suits Road home in Archdale on Sept. 6, 2008. Court testimony unveiled Paul was dead for 4-6 hours when paramedics arrived. In a recent news release, deputies described the killing as “brutal.”

All four suspects were arrested in late September 2008 and remain in custody without bond.

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