Home Virginia man to serve 40 years for two fatal stabbings: a roommate and a sexual partner
Public Safety, Virginia

Virginia man to serve 40 years for two fatal stabbings: a roommate and a sexual partner

Crystal Graham
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A Hampton Roads man will serve 40 years in prison for two murders he committed in Norfolk in 2020.

L. C. Grant III, 36, was convicted by jury in the stabbing death of Donta Antonio Jackson, 31.

Grant pleaded guilty on Thursday to the stabbing death of the second victim, Michael Dewayne Mizzell, 50.

In November 2023, the office presented its case against Grant — pertaining only to the charges involving Jackson — to a jury. On Nov. 30, the jury found Grant guilty of the second-degree murder of Jackson as well as the use of a weapon in the commission of his murder and carjacking. On March 8, Judge Robert B. Rigney sentenced Grant on those charges to an active term of 40 years in prison plus a term of post-release supervision. That sentence was significantly higher than the high end of Grant’s advisory sentencing guidelines.

On Thursday, Grant pleaded guilty to the second-degree murder of Mizzell. Judge Rigney accepted his plea agreement, dismissing the use of a weapon and credit card theft charges and imposing an active sentence of 40 years to run concurrently with the sentence for Jackson’s murder. The office extended this plea agreement with the blessing of Mizzell’s family, who above all wished for Grant to admit his guilt and take responsibility for killing their loved one.

According to court records, on Oct. 27, 2020, Jackson and Grant had been driving around in a white Mitsubishi Mirage belonging to Jackson’s girlfriend. The two parked outside of a restaurant off North Military Highway near the intersection with Hoggard Road in order to have sex. After their sexual encounter, Grant stabbed Jackson numerous times and drove off in the Mirage leaving Jackson mortally wounded at the scene. Bleeding and in distress, Jackson approached a nearby business on Hoggard Road and told patrons he had just been stabbed by a man who drove off in a white Mitsubishi Mirage belonging to his girlfriend.

Norfolk Police and emergency personnel responded, and Jackson died shortly after being transported to Sentara Leigh Hospital. Jackson had nine superficial cut and deep stab wounds, with a fatal four-inch wound to his chest. Detectives saw evidence of a struggle outside the restaurant and a trail of blood leading to the other business. Grant’s DNA was also recovered from Jackson’s body due to their sexual encounter.

Detectives interviewed Jackson’s girlfriend, who confirmed that Jackson borrowed her white Mirage that day to run an errand and meet with a friend — not Grant — but that communication between the two of them ceased shortly thereafter.

After the stabbing, Grant drove to the Richmond area to visit a woman he was dating. The two were seen on video surveillance footage the following day making a purchase at a grocery store. The woman testified that she broke up with Grant after he was acting oddly during the visit, including having unexplained cuts to his hands and sleeping in a white car that she did not recognize from his previous visits.

Grant then returned to Norfolk. On his way back from Richmond, Grant was seen again on video surveillance stopping at a Newport News 7-Eleven and making a purchase inside the store.

Multiple people reported to detectives during their investigation that they believed Grant to be Jackson’s killer. The individuals knew Grant only by the nickname “Luke” and advised that he was from the Coleman Place area of Norfolk. Detectives canvassed the area and recovered the abandoned white Mirage from a parking lot off Early Street.

After executing a search warrant on the vehicle, detectives found blood inside as well as purchase receipts from the Richmond grocery store and the Newport News 7-Eleven.

Another man was reported missing on Nov. 2, 2020. A woman who knew Mizzell from church reported she had not heard from him since Oct. 24. On Nov. 5, a Norfolk Police missing persons detective performed a wellness check at Mizzell’s apartment on Little Bay Avenue.

After smelling what he believed to be a dead body and noticing flies around the windows and door to the apartment, that detective contacted homicide detectives. After entering the apartment, the detectives found Mizzell’s body in an advanced state of decomposition wrapped in linens inside a closet.

A medical examiner determined that Mizzell died after being stabbed in his torso, neck and head more than two dozen times.

According to Mizzell’s family, Grant lived with Mizzell and acted as his caregiver.

On Nov. 4, a local bail bondsman took Grant into custody for neglecting to pay his bill for a previous bond on prior charges out of Virginia Beach unrelated to either murder. Among the items the bail bondsman confiscated from Grant after his arrest were three large knives and an EBT card belonging to Mizzell. Grant charged the EBT card during his trip to the Richmond area after he killed Jackson.

Based on the information gathered from the investigation into Jackson’s death, detectives obtained a warrant to collect Grant’s DNA for their investigation into Mizzell’s death. Grant’s DNA confirmed his presence in Mizzell’s apartment. The case against Grant for Mizzell’s killing was circumstantial but pointed to Grant as the killer.

In December 2020, Norfolk Police charged Grant with the second-degree murder of Jackson. In June 2021, the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office secured indictments from a grand jury against Grant for the first-degree murder of Jackson, using a weapon in the commission of Jackson’s murder, carjacking Jackson, the first-degree murder of Mizzell, using a weapon in the commission of Mizzell’s murder and credit card theft.

“Mr. Grant murdered someone for whom he served as a caretaker. Then he murdered someone with whom he had just been intimate. He murdered both of his victims with a knife, which requires violence, up-close contact and effort,” said Commonwealth’s Attorney Ramin Fatehi. “Mr. Jackson and Mr. Mizzell died painful and difficult deaths, but the jury, the judge and our office have held Mr. Grant accountable for his crimes. He has earned his sentences.”

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.