Grand jury to hear case of murdered artist - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Grand jury to hear case of murdered artist

Tolbert is accused of murdering Wade Wharton, a local artist. Tolbert is accused of murdering Wade Wharton, a local artist.
Investigators said Wharton, shown here in 2012, was beaten to death. Investigators said Wharton, shown here in 2012, was beaten to death.
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

A Huntsville murder case is headed to a grand jury, after gruesome details about the investigation were revealed during a Wednesday hearing.

19-year-old Ervin Tolbert is charged with killing 76-year-old artist Wade Wharton. Huntsville Police's lead investigator in the case described what police discovered on Jan. 15, the morning authorities say Tolbert beat Wharton to death.

The two were neighbors on Nassua Drive. The investigator testified that the teenager, according to his mother, woke her up at 4 a.m. and said "Mom, I killed Wade."

The investigator's testimony continued that after Tolbert went to sleep, the mother went across the street and found Wharton's body inside his carport and then called 911. The investigator said Wharton had injuries above his nose that were gruesome, and that he had a cut on the right side of his neck that they believe was caused by a saw.

He also testified that Tolbert's mother said her son had been wearing gray sweatpants, and they found those sweatpants with blood and brain matter on them.

Assistant District Attorney Jay Town said they don't have to make any decisions on whether or not to pursue the death penalty at this point. "But I assure you, the District Attorney and I will have some very serious conversations about this case, and whether or not we're going to seek the death penalty. It was a heinous, atrocious and cruel crime, and very violent," he said.

Investigators said they found several tools and property of Wharton's in the suspect's home. Tolbert is charged with capital murder in the case.

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