A native of Durham, North Carolina, by age 31 Grace had been charged with housebreaking and assault with a deadly weapon, but the cases were not prosecuted. Later, after moving to New York, he drew a term of fifteen years in Sing Sing on conviction of burglary, robbery, and possession of a deadly weapon.
1974, he returned to Durham and soon earned a five-month jail sentence
for assaults with a lead pipe and pistol.
charged with robbery and rape (of his own six-year-old daughter), Grace
was dispatched to a state hospital for observation; doctors there
described him as a paranoid schizophrenic, pronouncing him incompetent
It was not
Grace's first encounter with psychiatrists. His mother had attempted to
commit him once, referring to his violence and threats to take her life,
but he was released after brief examination by the doctors.
detective later sought committal on the ground of violent behavior and
the suspect's incoherence during criminal interrogation, but again he
was released in thirty days.
storm of violence broke in Durham on December 10, 1976, with the sniper
shooting of a male car wash employee. Six days later, David Solomon, a
gas station attendant, was hit twice while filling a customer's tank.
17, a Durham man was shot in the back and killed while walking with his
girlfriend, on the street.
another man was gunned down in a city park. Police saw "no connections"
in the series of attacks, until December 23.
morning, Herbert Bradshaw, editor of a local newspaper, was killed by a
bullet that crashed through his kitchen window.
hours, sniper fire had been directed at a Durham school, a grocery
store, and an ambulance crew responding to an emergency call.
A witness at
the grocery identified Grace as the gunman, and the hunt was on.
Arrested in a nearby town, December 28, Grace was held on charges of
using a deadly weapon with intent to kill.
He was eventually connected with the other incidents, and Durham's population breathed a collective sigh of relief as their resident sniper was packed off to prison.
Michael Newton - An Encyclopedia of Modern Serial
Killers - Hunting Humans