Police determine Waynesboro man was killed in self-defense, file no charges

Published: May. 29, 2020 at 6:21 PM EDT
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Investigators have determined that a Waynesboro man found dead of stab wounds last weekend was killed in self-defense, and no charges will be filed.

According to a joint statement from the Waynesboro Police Department and the Waynesboro Commonwealth's Attorney's Office, they concluded the killing of Marshal Elwood Staton, Jr. was justified.

Just before 6 p.m. on Saturday, May 23, Waynesboro police responded to a home in the 300 block of Yale Drive for a 911 call about a domestic violence situation in process. When officers got to the home, they found a woman and her adult son suffering from head injuries and a third person, identified as Staton, Jr., dead from what appeared to be stabbed wounds.

Over nearly a week of investigation, Waynesboro detectives gathered evidence and interviewed witnesses to figure out exactly what happened.

Autopsy results for Staton also came back on May 26 from the Medical Examiner's Office in Roanoke, determine his official cause of death.

What police say happened is this. Staton forcibly entered the home of his 57-year-old ex-girlfriend on Saturday evening and started attacking her and her 31-year-old son with a wooden baseball bat.

Police say he struck them each multiple times, causing blunt force head injuries. During the course of his attack, the son fought back, stabbing Staton multiple times with a knife in self-defense.

Staton's ex-girlfriend and her son were taken to Augusta Health, where they were treated for injuries and released. Staton was pronounced dead at the scene. According to the Medical Examiner, he was stabbed a total of three times, with one of the wounds delivering a fatal blow.

All three puncture wounds were consistent with the knife detectives recovered at the scene.

After reviewing the results of the police investigation, Waynesboro Commonwealth’s Attorney David L. Ledbetter declined to pursue any criminal charges in the case.

"Based on the totality of the evidence obtained, it appears that reasonable force was utilized by the resident to defend himself and his mother from Staton’s attack," a statement from Ledbetter said.

The investigation remains open, however, pending laboratory results from the Department of Forensic Science on evidence gathered at the scene.

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