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DES employee killed; man charged

By MELINDA WILLIAMS

melinda@southwesttimes.com

A Dublin man was charged with second-degree murder Wednesday after a long-time employee of Dublin Elementary School (DES) was found murdered inside her Pulaski County home.

Deborah Reed Griffith, 58, was a 17-year employee of the school system. She served as a para-professional with the Pre-K program at DES prior to becoming an administrative assistant in the school’s main office. She was named the school system’s Employee of the Year in 2019.

In response to her death, the school system released the following statement, “Pulaski County Public Schools has been devastated to learn of the tragic death of Mrs. Debbie Griffith. … She was a gentle and kind person who worked tirelessly to help the children and families she served. She will be missed beyond measure. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family, friends, and the Dublin Elementary School faculty and staff.”

Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office found Griffith deceased inside her 5444 Shepherd Drive home around 1:20 a.m. while responding to a report of possible gunshots According to a sheriff’s office press release, Griffith appeared to have been shot.

During the course of the investigation, William Tyler Griffith, 28, of Dublin, was arrested on a charge of second-degree murder, according to the sheriff’s office. The defendant is being held without bond at New River Valley Regional Jail. Pending court dates were not available as of press time Wednesday.

A search of Virginia circuit court records shows William Griffith has been charged in Pulaski, Radford and Montgomery County about a dozen times since 2011. Most of the charges involved driving offenses or infractions and nearly half of them were either dismissed or dismissed with an option to re-file. The most serious of the charges, obstruction of justice in 2017, was dismissed, with the option to re-file.

While some media Wednesday was identifying the defendant as the victim’s son, neither the sheriff’s office nor the school system would confirm that to be the case.

If William Griffith is indeed Deborah Griffith’s son, this is the second time this year a man is alleged to have murdered his mother in Pulaski County.

Cory Mangekian, 26, is awaiting trial on a charge of first-degree murder in the April 20 death of his 60-year-old mother, Sandra Lee Mangekian. The woman’s body was found inside her Oxford Ave. home in Fairlawn.

Cory Mangekian was arrested at Food Lion in Radford April 23, following a citizen tip to police.

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