According to police reports, the suspect, 29-year-old Scottie Lee Blanton got into an altercation with the victim, 22-year-old Garrett Wade Abernathy on Friday at approximately 11:00 p.m. The fight occurred in a trailer park home at the Creekside Mobile Home Park located at Chum Road and Tyron Courthouse Road. The park is situated between Bessemer City and Cherryville in Gaston County.
The victim was severely beaten during the altercation and was brought to Carolinas Medical Center Lincoln for treatment of life-threatening blunt force injuries. He was later transferred to Carolinas Medical Center Main where he was pronounced dead on Saturday from his injuries.
Initial investigations have not revealed a cause for the fight and subsequent homicide. Police have determined that Blanton used his hands and elbows in the attack. Investigations also revealed that the owner of the trailer home had allowed Blanton and Abernathy to live in the home for several weeks before the incident.
The victim, who had graduated from Burns High School in 2012, would have celebrated his 23rd birthday on Monday. Family gathered at the Lincolnton hospital on Monday to celebrate his life and release balloons.
Blanton was charged with attempted first-degree murder. After the victim’s death, these charges were upgraded to second-degree murder on Monday morning following consultations with the North Carolina Medical Examiner’s Office and District Attorney’s Office.