Joe Louis Gunn marked his 70th birthday on February 26, the day he allegedly stabbed his neighbor 15 times with as many as four knives, which an Alexandria police officer found bloodied in Gunn’s possession when he arrived on the Old Town crime scene last month.
On Monday, Alexandria General District Court Chief Judge Becky J. Moore sent the case to a grand jury where Gunn, charged with attempted first-degree murder, will be prosecuted.
According to court documents, the police officer arrived in the parking lot of the Annie B. Rose retirement apartments on the afternoon of February 26, when Gunn approached him, exclaiming, “I did it!” before throwing several bloody knives to the ground.
“I then observed the victim … with numerous stab wounds on his head and body,” the officer stated in a criminal complaint.
The officer then watched a surveillance video from the building’s security system showing Gunn stabbing the victim, who lived in the same complex, several times.
The victim, who had a prior relationship with Gunn, was well enough to testify in court Monday, about a month after the incident, according to Commonwealth’s Attorney Randy Sengel, the city’s head prosecutor.
Sengel said he could not comment on the specifics of their relationship but said Gunn and the alleged victim were having a conversation prior to the stabbing.
Although Gunn was technically charged with attempted murder, Sengel said the prosecution will treat the stabbing as a felonious assault because it’s easier to prove than attempted murder in terms of the factual evidence involved. But the charge can carry the same penalty in Virginia sometimes harsher, “especially if there are injuries that cause a permanent disfigurement, such as a prominent scar or a permanent disability or something like that,” Sengel said.
“And the charge in the warrant really is of no legal consequence in terms of subsequent prosecution. The prosecutor is free to present an indictment for any offense that’s related to or rises out of the facts, and our view of it is it’s more appropriately prosecuted as a felonious assault,” he said.
Gunn has been in the custody of Alexandria authorities since the incident and will appear before a grand jury April 12.