Our network

School remembers mother, daughter slain in killing spree | News

Title (Max 100 Characters)

School remembers mother, daughter slain in killing spree

ATLANTA -- Family, schoolmates and teachers gathered at KIPP WAYS Academy Monday evening to remember 12-year-old Demiya Griffin and her mother, 34-year-old Shatikey "Tikey" Griffin.

Griffin and her daughter were found dead in their home Sunday morning. Police have charged Griffin's husband, Joseph Smith, with the murders.

RELATED: Joseph Smith was wanted before killing spree

Smith is due in court Tuesday to face three charges of murder for allegedly killing his new wife and her daughter, but authorities don't think his alleged killing spree stopped there.

Both Atlanta and East Point authorities have taken out warrants against 32-year-old Smith.

Around 8 a.m. Sunday,  East Point officers said they discovered a woman dead inside a room at the Wellesley Inn on Virginia Avenue. She has been identified as 36-year-old Loveitt Wallace. Investigators say they believe Wallace was Smith's mistress.

At about 9 a.m., Atlanta police officers along with the SWAT team were called to a home in the Cascades Townhome community.  Smith was taken into custody. Inside the home, authorities found the bodies of Smith's wife and stepdaughter.

Family members of Griffin had little to offer in the way of motive, saying they had just seen both Teeky and Demiya the day before.

"We all went to a soccer game then had a big birthday party.  They left around one in the morning. [Joseph] wasn't there, but we didn't think anything of it," said Duwon Robinson, family spokesman.

Investigators spent hours Sunday interrogating Smith at Atlanta Police Headquarters, before charging him late Sunday night and transporting him to the Fulton County Jail. 

Monday evening at KIPP WAYS Academy, teachers remembered the 7th grader as a "shining star."

"She was very friendly, everyone would describe her with a bubbly personality. Always smiling, very outgoing," said teacher Claudia Varela.

Several students made cards in memory of their classmate. Seventh grader Iya Graves wore a Hello Kitty t-shirt, Demiya's favorite character. Graves said the two had been best friends since fifth grade.

"I called her phone today and left a message," Graves said. "She may not hear me, but I still want to talk to her."

KIPP students are on fall break this week, but the school will make grief counselors available for students.

Smith will appear in court Tuesday morning.