Man charged with murder in cellmate’s death

Officials call alleged murder a first for jail

JONESBORO — A Locust Grove man has been charged with what is believed to be the first murder inside the Clayton County Jail, said authorities.

Clayton sheriff’s Capt. Brian Crisp said William Alexander Brooks, 20, was charged Thursday with malice murder and aggravated battery. Crisp said it is the first murder he is aware of inside the county facility.

Crisp said Brooks apparently argued over a store item with cellmate Kenneth Robert Grochowski, 57, and assaulted him.

“Investigators developed significant criminal evidence which indicated that Brooks had intentionally assaulted Grochowski in their shared cell, with the intent of causing his death,” said Crisp.

Grochowski was found unresponsive in their cell when deputies did a midnight roll call. Paramedics responded and tried CPR while taking Grochowski to Southern Regional Medical Center, said Crisp. Deputies first suspected a heart attack because of his age and past medical problems but an autopsy was done Wednesday that led to Brooks’ arrest on murder charges, he said.

Crisp said Brooks admitted to the killing, smiling as he did so. Because the autopsy report is not finalized yet, Crisp could not provide more details about how Grochowski died.

Brooks was first arrested Aug. 1 by Forest Park police officers and charged with theft by receiving stolen property, giving a false name, driving on a suspended license and failure to wear a seat belt. Crisp said at the time of his arrest, Brooks was driving a 2002 Nissan Quest that had been reported stolen in Locust Grove. Brooks also allegedly gave a false name, “Hasuse MaCavelle.”

Crisp said Brooks is also wanted in Florida for violation of probation from a burglary conviction.

Grochowski was being held as a fugitive pending extradition to Illinois. He’d been arrested Aug. 8 at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport after arriving on an international flight from South America. Police said he fled the country to avoid prosecution on weapons violations, aggravated DUI and eluding officers in a 2007 case.

Crisp said Grochowski returned to the United States because he wrongly believed the statute of limitations had expired on the Illinois case.

He signed a waiver of extradition Aug. 10 and was to be picked up Aug. 20 to return to Illinois.