HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Huntsville Police identified the victim in a murder investigation and made an arrest in connection with the case.
Investigators said Melborn Elswade Wharton was found dead outside his home on the 3100 block of Nassau Drive around 6:45 Wednesday morning. "Wade," as he was known, was a local artist known for his eclectic work displayed in both his front yard and the Huntsville Botanical Gardens.
Police arrested his neighbor, 19-year-old Ervin Tolbert. Investigators said Tolbert will be charged with murder. He is being held without bond.
Investigators spent most of the day collecting evidence and talking with neighbors.
A neighbor who asked not to be identified reported hearing a commotion early Wednesday morning. "All I heard was a thumping sound, like somebody was beating on something. We thought it was just [Wharton] working, but I knew it wasn't like his usual because he is usually hitting on metal or pans," the neighbor said.
The neighbor went on to say that the neighborhood is shocked by Wharton's death, but not by the suspect's involvement.
"He was a pretty nice fellow some of the time, but you could tell he wasn't all there. I told his mother a couple months ago that something was going to happen to either him or he was going to hurt somebody, and she didn't listen," he said.
Wharton's body has been taken for an autopsy. Police are not releasing the cause of Wharton's death.
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