ODU Student Beaten to Death
By: David Thornton
Paul Johnson, an ODU sophomore, died of blunt head trauma on Sunday Feb. 23 after an attack outside the Edge nightclub near campus at around 1 a.m. He was allegedly attacked by two men, Christopher Johnson (no relation to the victim) and David Grimm, who were apprehended by police and are currently free on bond awaiting trial.
Paul Johnson was found near a 7-11 parking lot just off campus. First responders performed CPR and rushed him to a Norfolk hospital, but he died from his injuries Sunday night.
Reports detailing the events leading up to the attack are varied. Grimm is being charged with second degree murder, and his lawyer claims that Grimm threw a single punch in self-defense after a melee began among several people.
Amanda Howie, spokeswoman for the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office, stated that the position of the prosecutor is that Grimm punched Paul Johnson in the back of the head as he was walking away after an initial exchange of blows between Paul Johnson and Christopher Johnson.
Zach Cannon, the owner of the Edge, has stated that none of the individuals involved in the incident were at the club before the attack. However, other sources have stated that one or both of the assailants had been removed from the club immediately prior to the incident for being too drunk and rowdy. This has yet to be confirmed.
Cannon has cooperated with authorities, turning over security footage from cameras outside the club to be used as evidence.
Police issued warrants for the two suspects, and Christopher Johnson, charged with misdemeanor assault, turned himself over to police. He was released on $1,500 bond.
According to Grimm’s father, Grimm was on his way from Norfolk to Prince William County when he heard police were looking for him. After arriving at his father’s house, Grimm turned himself over to Prince William County police. He was released on $25,000 bond, under the conditions that he remains at his father’s house, and has a full-time job. He is not allowed within a mile of ODU campus.
The preliminary hearing will be held May 12.