The man police say strangled and killed his cousin last week has been brought back from New York and is being held on $1 million bond after Friday’s initial hearing at the Russell County Courthouse.
Christian Grissom has been held at the Russell County Jail since he was apprehended in New York on Thursday.
Grissom, 27, is accused of strangling 19-year-old Keonte Chavis in the early hours of Aug. 7.
On Aug. 9 around 5 p.m., Chavis’ body was found partially decomposed from the heat and rain in the woods on Ridge Road in Seale, Ala. Investigators believe she had been in the woods since they started searching for her Aug. 7.
Chavis was with Grissom until around 2 a.m. that night, Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor said.
“Something went badly wrong at that point and Ms. Chavis was killed,” he said http://www.ledger-enquirer.com/2014/08/11/3242697/russell-county-sheriff-second.html">at a Monday news conference.
Taylor said the teen’s death didn’t appear to have been planned.
Grissom, originally from Jacksonville, Fla., was fleeing a warrant for missing a domestic violence court date when he stopped in Phenix City to see his family. He was staying with Chavis and her grandmother.
Grissom told family members he dropped Chavis off at an undisclosed location around 1 a.m. on the night she went missing and then returned to the grandmother’s house.
He initially cooperated with Phenix City police — and even went with his family to report Chavis’ disappearance — but soon fled to his mother’s home in New York, where authorities arrested him.
“It hadn’t dawned on me, like everyone else, that a family member would do that,” Chavis’ grandfather-in-law, Deams Green, said Monday. “When Chris finally showed back up, after the fog cleared for me, I assumed and felt in my heart that he was the one, because he left. And no one leaves their family members in a crisis like this.”
Grissom said during his Friday hearing that he will need a court-appointed attorney. If Grissom makes bond, he will be fitted with an ankle monitor.