Local News

Former NCSU student pleads guilty in gang-related shooting

Posted December 17, 2008 11:51 a.m. EST
Updated January 7, 2009 6:24 p.m. EST

— 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.