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Former NCSU student pleads guilty in gang-related shooting

Posted December 17, 2008
Updated January 7, 2009

— A former North Carolina State University student pleaded guilty Wednesday to a misdemeanor obstruction of justice charge in connection with a gang-related shooting at a university apartment complex earlier this year.

Whitney Blakeney, 20, was arrested and charged with accessory after the fact in the July 28 shooting of Clarence Grubbs, as he sat under a gazebo at Wolf Village Apartments on Gorman Street.

Wake County Assistant District Attorney Susan Spurlin said Blakeney picked up her boyfriend, Ryan Alexander Barnes, after the shooting but did not know that he was involved until afterward.

But during the course of the investigation, she said, Blakeney sent text messages to Barnes.

Barnes, who was also a student at N.C. State, and three other men – Alex Dorsey, Leroy Barnes Jr. and Terrell Maurice Grimes – were each charged with attempted first-degree murder and assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury in the case.

Before Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens handed down Blakeney's 45-day suspended sentence and 18 months of supervised probation, Blakeney told him her involvement in the crime was because of her boyfriend.

Calling her an articulate, intelligent and attractive woman, Stephens questioned her on why she wanted to be involved in a gang.

"What is it that's so attractive about gangs?" he asked. "Is it the gangs or is it the guy?"

"The guy," Blakeney said.

"Don't let some guy decide that you're going to go to prison," Stephens said. "Don't let some guy keep you from going to college. You've got too much to offer to let some thug change your life."

Blakeney was banned from university property after her arrest for allegedly maintaining a dwelling for the purpose of selling marijuana in student housing.

Her attorney said Wednesday that Blakeney wants to stay out of trouble, go back to school and get on with her life.

Grubbs and a female friend were sitting under the gazebo just after midnight on July 29 when a gunman approached and fired at them. He was hit in the stomach. The woman was hit in the foot.

Police initially thought the shooting was a random attack.

Spurlin said while he was in jail, Dorsey, a leader of a Crips gang, ordered a hit on Grubbs, a member of another sect of the gang, because he was going to identify Dorsey as a suspect in a Taco Bell robbery.

Dorsey pleaded guilty last week to attempted first-degree murder. The other suspects are expected to plead guilty in January, she said.

11 Comments

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  • strayer12 Dec 17, 2008

    I hope she will use this experience and learn from it.

  • workingforthosethatwont Dec 17, 2008

    wants to continue her education and get on with her life...ok...do it somewhere else. you have proven that you do not want to follow the rules here.

  • unc4evr Dec 17, 2008

    YoucanthandletheTRUTH - Guess I showed my ignorance, thanks for information.

  • YoucanthandletheTRUTH Dec 17, 2008

    "Pleaded? Did she write her own article???"

    Believe it or not, pleaded is the grammatically correct way to state that she "pleaded guilty". I know it doesn't sound right but plead is only a present tense form.

  • bunnie Dec 17, 2008

    book sense and common sense are two different things.....sounds to me like she is lacking in the common sense area

  • unc4evr Dec 17, 2008

    Pleaded? Did she write her own article???

  • familyfour Dec 17, 2008

    I know it was unc that is doing the hate crime thing...should've distinguished that...but it's just frustrating that these kids have the means to cause considerable action for the embetterment of their school, and choose to waste it on futile arguements, while the real crimes continue

  • familyfour Dec 17, 2008

    Now this looks more like a topic the students should be looking into....not coming up with a way to charge students with hate crimes for spray painting free speach....

    find ways to remove drugs from your campus, and guns, and gangs...or is all that okay, just no spray painting???

    I am really having trouble distinguishing how they determine their priorities....they must be listening to some of these "groups" that have continued to hold people back from their true potential.....if you get too far ahead, there will be no need for special priviledge, and that's the way they want it.

  • babyblue2 Dec 17, 2008

    did i read correctly? articulate, intelligent and attractive? i would question the middle adjective in light of the fact that she maintained a house for selling drugs and for having a relationship with this thug. not very intelligent.

  • twc Dec 17, 2008

    I respect and admire Judge Stephens. He is a fair and honorable judge. I hope this young lady will take advantage of this golden opportunity she has been given.

    I do question, however, why she was not charged with maintaining a dwelling for selling drugs. If Judge Stephens had access to that information as part of these charges I believe the sentence would have been different.

    If there's a next time she won't be so lucky!!

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