It’s not always simple

Benjamin Duling, 34, and his girlfriend Shelly McGrade, 35, have been described as quiet and that they worked a lot. They lived in a home surrounded by woods, more than 100 yards from another residence. The couple had two children ages 1 1/2 (I have seen the child listed as 2) years and 5 years old. Shelly McGrade was also the mother of two children from a previous relationship.

Friday night a near neighbor says she got a knock on the door. Allegedly there had been an altercation between Benjamin Duling and Shelly McGrade. Police were notified and when they arrived at the neighbors home, the 5 year old child, the 1 1/2 year old child and Benjamin Duling were there. At the home that Duling shared with McGrade, they found Shelly McGrade lifeless.

Police report that Benjamin Duling was injured when they arrived and it is believed he suffered those injuries during the alleged altercation with Shelly McGrade. He was taken to the hospital, treated and released. Duling was taken into custody for a time, but then was released. The 2 younger children are believed to have been present during the fight, but police say they were not physically harmed.

Police are investigating but as of last media report there have been no arrests. Police have declined to say if there was a weapon involved or the cause of Shelly McGrade’s death, though they do admit there was visible injuries. An autopsy has been scheduled. Police have said there does not appear to have been anyone else involved in the altercation other than McGrade and Duling. And they have said the manner of death does appear to be homicide.

According to the Senior Assistant Attorney General

Strelzin said prosecutors will review the evidence and “determine whether any criminal charges will be brought.” Some homicides lead to immediate arrests and others can take years to resolve, he said.                              

It’s not always simple. Before police can dismiss the investigation or if necessary make an arrest they have to be able to prove what happened Friday night. Fingerprints and DNA would be expected to be in the home from both Duling and McGrade. But there are other tests that can be used, though some of those tests might take time. An autopsy also has to be performed.

I was interested in the fact that police have termed Shelly McGrade’s death to be a homicide. Homicide is defined by the

The killing of one human being by another human being.

Although the term homicide is sometimes used synonymously with murder, homicide is broader in scope than murder. Murder is a form of criminal homicide; other forms of homicide might not constitute criminal acts. These homicides are regarded as justified or excusable. For example, individuals may, in a necessary act of self-Defense, kill a person who threatens them with death or serious injury, or they may be commanded or authorized by law to kill a person who is a member of an enemy force or who has committed a serious crime. Typically, the circumstances surrounding a killing determine whether it is criminal. The intent of the killer usually determines whether a criminal homicide is classified as murder or manslaughter and at what degree.


So basically at this time, police are not saying what happened.


Thank you to Amanda for providing an update.

According to reports, the couple was arguing in the kitchen of the home and the children were present. Shelly McGrade was stabbed in the neck and the back. Duling received an injury to his hand during the altercation. Duling has been arrested and charged with 2nd degree murder. The younger children reportedly did witness the attack and efforts are being made to obtain counseling for them. The older children were away from the home. Duling was with his two young children until his arrest, now all of the children are reported to be with relatives.



  1. Amanda said,

    April 22, 2008 at 6:51 pm

    Cut and pasted from: (NH news site)

    WILTON, N.H. — The boyfriend of a Wilton woman found dead in their home over the weekend has been charged with murder.

    Authorities said Benjamin Duling, 34, was arrested on Tuesday and charged with second-degree murder in the death of Shelly McGrade, 35.

    Officials also said an autopsy showed McGrade died of two stab wounds.

    Previously, the attorney general’s office reported that Duling and McGrade had been fighting Friday evening. McGrade was found dead in the home, and Duling was treated for injuries and released.

  2. Trey said,

    April 25, 2008 at 4:49 am

    HSH, here is a link to a tragic story of abuse in the home where the justice system did not get it right.

    The backstory is available from the same site.


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