Dana Grantham put a pillow over Jimmy Webb’s head and shot the 67-year-old coin collector to death in the fall of 2000 in Elbert County.
Grantham had broken into Webb’s home to steal his gold coins when Webb walked in on him. So Grantham took Webb’s coins — and his life with Webb’s own gun.
On Monday, Grantham stood near Webb’s daughters and other family members as Northern Judicial Circuit District Attorney Parks White read a statement detailing the crime and Grantham’s recent confession. The murderer received a life sentence Monday for his crime. He is already in prison for the murder of Richard Flanagan, who he shot in the head in 2001, one year and one week after killing Webb.
One of Webb’s daughters talked in court of how it’s “impossible to put the pain and grief into words,” how their father was a taken from them “for a few dollars,” how he was “a good man who didn’t deserve that.”
Grantham, wearing an orange prison jumpsuit, his hands chained, a round white cap on the back of his head, looked down at the ground as Webb’s daughters spoke. He then offered an apology to them.
“I wish to say I’m sorry for what happened,” said Grantham, adding that he was in “in a bind” at the time of the killing. “I hope this will give the family some relief in their grief.”
Superior Court Judge John Bailey said he was glad to hear Grantham say that, but added that the words did nothing to change what he did. He said Grantham is a dangerous man who deserves no more freedom in this life.
“You are a danger to the citizens of this state,” Bailey told Grantham.
The Webb murder case sat dormant for years until new district attorney White reviewed the case with Elbert County investigator Darren Scarborough and former investigator Mike Thompson.
“After their presentation and a review of the file, I asked them to take warrants for Mr. Grantham,” White told the court Monday.
The district attorney said that on Oct. 6, 2000, the Elbert County Sheriff’s Department responded to a call for a welfare check at a Cromer Road residence and discovered Webb’s body lying face down with two pillows over his head and a gunshot wound to the back of his head. He was killed with his own Colt .38 revolver, which was located in a holster next to his bed. His safes containing antique gold coins had been pried from his closet floor and the coins stolen.
According to White, Grantham was interviewed by Elbert investigators during the murder probe and admitted that he knew Webb. Grantham said he had sold Webb a gold coin and had breakfast with him at McDonalds. But he denied involvement in the murder.
White said Webb maintained an inventory of his coins, which was left at the scene.
“Three months after the murder of Mr. Webb, Mr. Grantham purchased a parcel of land from his mother using four books of 176 antique coins,” said White. “These books identically matched coins cataloged in Mr. Webb’s inventory. A fingerprint of Mr. Grantham’s was located on one of the coins.”
Investigators in Hart County linked Grantham to Flanagan’s murder in 2001. The two were on their way to a coin shop in Anderson, S.C., when Grantham murdered Flanagan.
On June 6 of this year, investigators traveled to Hays State Prison to speak with Grantham about Webb’s murder. He initially denied knowing Webb or remembering anything about the murder. He then said he couldn’t speak with investigators because they didn’t have the power to make a deal. The next day Grantham sent a letter to the district attorney requesting a meeting.
White said he met with Grantham on June 14 and advised him that he couldn’t offer any deal without tainting his statement.
“I did advise him that I take acceptance of responsibility very seriously,” said White. “Mr. Grantham then gave a complete confession of his involvement in the murder of Jimmy Webb.”
Grantham then told White that he met Webb through Webb’s girlfriend at the time. He traveled to Webb’s home on a prior occasion where he traded a $2 gold coin for a number of silver coins.
On Oct. 1, 2000, Grantham was working for Richardson Plumbing when he drove by Webb’s home and saw that his car wasn’t there.
He broke into the home and was in the process of removing the contents of Webb’s safe when the victim returned home.
“Mr. Grantham was a felon, having multiple prior burglary arrests and convictions, and he knew that being caught during the commission of a burglary would mean returning to prison,” said White. “He remembered seeing Mr. Webb’s pistol in his bedroom and went and retrieved it. He then covered the safes with a pink blanket and hid behind Mr. Webb’s television. As Mr. Webb came into his home, he called out Mr. Grantham’s name. Mr. Grantham then confronted Mr. Webb with Mr. Webb’s pistol. Mr. Webb told Mr. Grantham that he would just forget the whole thing and to leave. Mr. Grantham knew that Mr. Webb would report the crime, so he directed Mr. Webb into his bedroom. He had Mr. Webb lay facedown on the bed, and told him he was going to tie him up. He then placed a pillow over Mr. Webb’s head and fired one shot through the pillow, killing Mr. Webb. He then returned Mr. Webb’s pistol to its holster and left the residence.”
Grantham’s confession and plea of guilty to murder do not eliminate the possibility of parole. According to White, in 2000, a sentence of life without parole would only be available if the accused were noticed for the death penalty.
“A murder conviction, even after trial, would result in a sentence of life with the possibility of parole,” wrote White when asked by the Journal for clarification on Grantham’s sentence. “Grantham will technically be eligible for parole in 2027. He is not in good health, and as he stated at his sentencing, he fully expects to die in prison.”