Teen sword slaying suspect appears in Douglas courtroom

A Douglasville teenager accused of killing his great-grandmother and injuring his grandmother with a sword appeared in a Douglas County courtroom Wednesday morning.

The teen, identified as Gevin Allen Prince, 15, was read the charges against him: malice murder and four counts of aggravated assault -- including two counts against two juvenile neighbors who tried to intervene to stop the attack. Prince allegedly chased the two with the samurai sword he used in the attacks, but did not injure them, according to Douglas County District Attorney David McDade.

Prince was asked by the judge if he understood the charges against him, and he said he did.

McDade said Tuesday he plans to charge the teenager as an adult, calling the case a “horribly tragic situation.”

Channel 2 Action News, quoting the Douglas County sheriff, reported that the boy became upset when he was told to stop playing a video game.

The young suspect is being held in Douglas County Jail. His name is expected to be made public at Wednesday's hearing, scheduled to begin at 9:30.

The great-grandmother who died in the Monday attack was identified as Mary Joan Gibbs, 77. When police arrived, she was found dead in the yard at a home in the 3400 block of Spring Ridge Drive in Douglasville.

The grandmother was identified as Laura Prince, 55. Police found Prince barricaded inside a room in the home. She was taken to Douglas General Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Gibbs and Prince were mother and daughter.

Authorities encountered the teenage suspect, whom they described as mentally disturbed, standing in the doorway with a full-sized sword and a pellet rifle. The teen used the rifle to shoot out the windows of a patrol car, police said.

After a 10- to 15-minute standoff, the suspect was talked out of the house and into the yard, where police used a Taser and K-9 dog to subdue him.

Officers previously had been to the Douglasville home at least two times because of the teen’s behavior. In June, deputies were called to the home when the teen injured his grandmother with a sword, Sheriff Phil Miller said. Miller said he confiscated that particular sword and still had it in his possession. Police were called again to the home in July and arrested the teen on assault-related charges.

Miller said each time the teen was arrested he was taken for a mental evaluation, but the sheriff didn’t know the extent or outcome of the evaluations.

Knowing the youth’s history, the sheriff said his deputies tried to use restraint, but were prepared to resort to deadly force if necessary.

"Fortunately, we didn't have to," Miller said. "It was very tough."

Dispatch editor Angel K. Brooks contributed to this article.