Local News

Son-in-law charged in 81-year-old's death in Durham

Posted June 28, 2012 6:22 a.m. EDT
Updated June 28, 2012 7:03 p.m. EDT

— Person County sheriff's deputies arrested a Timberlake man Wednesday night in the shooting death of his mother-in-law, who was found in the garage of her Durham home on Sunday.

William "Bill" Grider, 48, of Fletchers Ridge Road, was arrested about 11:30 p.m. and charged with murder in the death of Altaree Estes Norris, 81, Durham police said.

Grider, who appeared in Durham County District Court on Thursday in a wheelchair, was denied a request to be released on bond so that he could seek medical treatment for a lung condition.

Authorities have not said what might have led to the shooting, and have released few details about the crime.

Investigators searched Norris' David Street home on Tuesday, and police have released a 911 call from a man who said it appeared that Norris had fallen and hit her head.

When the dispatcher told the man to get a towel to slow the bleeding, he said he couldn't.

"(He) won't let me inside the house to get a cloth," the caller said. "He's being obnoxious."

Because the 911 call was altered to protect the caller's identity, it's unclear who was inside the house and the person's relationship, if any, to Norris or the caller.

Authorities said Grider, a father of two, surrendered peacefully when deputies picked him up at his home Wednesday.

Other than a reckless driving charge in 1996, he does not appear to have a criminal record.

Norris' family did not want to talk about Grider's arrest when reached for comment Thursday.

"We would just like to extend our appreciation for the prayers and support of the community and also for the work of the Durham Police Department," her son-in-law, Dennis Keith, said. "The family is preparing for services on Sunday and Monday that we hope will be a fitting end to a life well-lived."

Funeral services are scheduled for 11 a.m. Monday at First Baptist Church in Durham, where she had been an active member for 55 years.

Neighbors said that Norris, a mother of two and grandmother of four, including Grider's son from a previous relationship, had lived alone since her husband of 46 years died several years ago, but she remained active in the community.

According to her obituary, she was a lifelong Durham resident who enjoyed gardening and serving others.

Lifelong friend Nancy Frantel described Norris as a "wonderful example of just how people should treat each other."

"She was an amazing lady, and because of her humility, a lot of people don't understand the kind of person she was," Frantel said. "She would unselfishly help others and deny herself of things she wanted to do. But she did it very lovingly – it's what she wanted to do."