A woman riding her bike down a path in Ashland, Oregon (Saturday, November 19th, around 4:30 PM, just at sunset) comes upon another man who has discovered another young man, apparently passed out, but this turns out not to be the case. The young man, 23-year-old David Michael Grubbs, was dead, his head nearly decapitated by an instrument with a most long blade, maybe a sword or a machete. The woman, the second person to arrive on the crime scene, is the one who calls 911.
One other thing; she sees a man moving away from this vicinity, but doesn’t see him clearly enough to make a positive identification. The nature of the slaying of David Grubbs is confounding the police, especially since Ashland is such a peaceful, almost idyllic community, with very little crime, or certainly not much violent crime, according to the Police Chief Terry Holderness (Source: Bloody slaying shocks Oregon theater town by Jeff Barnard – Associated Press).
Without a great deal of sources to reference (I only see the AP article and one by Sam Wheeler, writing for the Ashland Daily Tidings), when researching David Grubbs unusual case, I perused the Wikipedia entry for Ashland, Oregon. I know very little about Ashland, so I wanted to, at least, get a grip on the basics, such as the population, it’s geographical location, and how it fits into the (local and general) economy or even better, its claim to fame, its spring-well of attraction.
You will want to sift through this cold, statistical data, if you wish to get a hold on the contours and ambience of this lovely Northwestern town, that in some ways, reminds me of Aspen, Colorado. I’ll not go there, since my knowledge regarding either of these cities would easily fit inside a thimble. But one bright spot of an event that everybody will readily acknowledge is the presence of the annual Oregon Shakespeare Festival, which appears to be center stage for Ashland (both for its citizens and for the visitors that flock to OSF).
My intuition tells me people in the community are making the connection between the sword (or rapier, as it was called in Elizabethan England) as an instrument or prop that shows up in so many of Shakespeare’s plays, to (the manner of death for David Grubbs), that may have provided fodder for the imagination of a demented killer.
*(Mercutio – “Consort! What, dost thou make us minstrels? A thou make minstrels of us, look to hear nothing but discords. Here’s my fiddlestick, here’s that shall make you dance. ‘Zounds, consort!” Romeo and Juliet – William Shakespeare) Okay, so references to rapiers or fiddlesticks are jam-packed in the folios of Mister Shakespeare. You know that, so are you thinking what I think you’re thinking? I’ll say it, though I shouldn’t do it! The sword-wielding phantom is an actor who’s lost his marbles.
I know you’ll be thinking of John Wilkes Booth, who was a great Shakespearean actor, and went a trifle mad over his roles, but he’s not really a fit with our current perpetrator. Did the killer know David Grubbs, or was it merely random, as surmised by Zhawen Wahpepah, a friend of David Grubbs? David had worked as a stocker at the Shop ‘n Cart for 5 years and didn’t seem to have any enemies or to have engaged in recreational drug use or anything else BAD (according to Zhawen again).
We’ll leave it up to the detectives to explore his background, work or school, and to check out his hobbies, places frequented, or any obvious, ubiquitous associations. For right now, however, theories as to his abominable nemesis drift in the direction of a meretricious twist, unnatural histrionics of the foulest sort!