PULASKI — Firing a crossbow bolt into the back of a pickup truck during a 2018 road-rage incident will cost Glen McNeal Grubb six years behind bars, a judge said Tuesday.
Grubb, 25, of Pulaski, was convicted as the result of a May jury trial of maliciously shooting into a vehicle driven by Jeffrey Porterfield, a felony, and of two misdemeanor counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. The latter charges were tied to the presence of Grubb’s fiancee’s young daughters in the car as Grubb raced along back roads outside the town and shot his crossbow at another vehicle.
At Tuesday’s sentencing hearing in Pulaski County Circuit Court, Judge Brad Finch said he saw no reason to reduce the six-year sentence the jury recommended.
“But for a small difference in where that arrow did hit, Mr. Porterfield could have been severely injured or killed,” Finch said, referring to the driver of the pickup truck struck by Grubb’s missile.
Finch imposed a five-year prison term for the felony and two six-month jail terms for the misdemeanors. The judge ordered Grubb be supervised by the probation office for a year after his release.
Finch also ordered that Grubb pay $408.30 to Porterfield for vehicle rental fees the Pulaski County man incurred as his truck was being repaired. Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Travis Epes said that Porterfield did not turn in a bill for the repairs. Porterfield, who testified in May, was not in the courtroom Tuesday.
Finch said that Grubb may have no further contact with Porterfield or members of his family or household.
The Jan. 2, 2018, encounter between Porterfield and Grubb began when Grubb, driving his fiancee’s 2003 Pontiac Grand Am, pulled up behind Porterfield’s 2013 Ford F-150 on U.S. 11 where it crosses Draper Mountain, according to testimony at Grubb’s trial. Porterfield was alone, while Grubb was accompanied by his fiancee and her daughters, then 4 and 6.
Porterfield brake checked Grubb several times as they headed away from town. Once over the mountain, the two vehicles left U.S. 11 for smaller roads in a high-speed chase that involved stops, starts, and turn-offs, with one vehicle, then the other in the lead. Porterfield was on his phone with an emergency dispatcher for part of the incident. After Grubb stopped on the shoulder and Porterfield went by, Grubb fired his crossbow, lodging a bolt in the metal beside the pickup’s rear window.
Jurors who heard the case in May declined to find Grubb guilty of attempted murder, convicting him of the malicious shooting charge instead.
On Tuesday, Epes noted that Grubb had a prior conviction in Wythe County for unlawful wounding and asked that Finch give Grubb the sentence the jury had called for. “He’s getting worse and worse, is the commonwealth’s position,” Epes said.
Asked by the judge if he wanted to speak, Grubb said that being behind bars for 20 months since the case began had given him time to think.
“I’ve learned a lot. I’ve lost a lot. … I know what I did was wrong,” Grubb said.
He added that he was waiting to take anger management classes.
Defense attorney Michelle Waller of Bland told Finch that Grubb has several times been on suicide watch during his months in jail and clearly has mental issues that could best be addressed outside a jail or prison setting. She asked the judge to reduce the sentence to what was suggested in a state guidelines that ranged from a year and 10 months to two years and seven months.
But after Finch declined to go below jurors’ recommendation, Waller said she was satisfied.
Speaking after the hearing, Waller said, “You can have faith in the jury system. The outcome was fair.”