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Athens man stabbed man less than a year after release from prison for kidnapping UGA student

Updated: Mar 13, 2021

Ferris Elsworth Grady Jr.

By Joe Johnson

An Athens man this week allegedly stabbed someone less than a year after he completed a lengthy prison sentence for the kidnapping and armed robbery of a University of Georgia student nearly two decades ago.

Athens-Clarke County police said that Ferris Elsworth Grady Jr., 43, allegedly stabbed a man in the neck at University Oaks Apartments Wednesday night after accusing the victim of stealing his shoes. The victim’s injuries were not believed by police to be life-threatening.

Grady, who was located in a room at a nearby hotel was arrested and charged with aggravated assault, possession of a knife during the commission of a crime, and possession of methamphetamine.

The incident occurred less than eight months after Grady was released from Valdosta State Prison after serving 12 years for the kidnapping-armed robbery that he committed with his girlfriend, Bambi Danielle Wright.

"I'm disappointed Mr. Grady has been unable to remain out of trouble," said Brian Patterson, a former assistant district attorney who helped prosecute Grady and Wright.

Ferris Grady's prison photo

According to court and police documents, a UGA student was returning to her car late in a downtown parking deck the night of March 9, 2002 after making a withdrawal at an ATM when a Wright asked for a ride. The woman got in the car and as they drove through the deck Wright told the student “he needs a ride, too,” referring to Grady.

After Grady got in the car he held a knife to the student’s neck and demanded her wallet and ATM card, then instructed her to drive to a dead-end street, where Grady tied up and gagged the student and covered her head.

Grady and Wright stole the student’s ATM card and made her tell them her personal identification number, and then then went to a bar where they drank with another couple, paying with funds they withdrew from the student’s bank account.

When they finished at the bar, both couples began walking to the student’s car. Wright admitted during her trial that she knew that Grady planned to kill the student and dump her body in the river.

However, the student had managed to escape and she reported her abduction to police.

Officers located Grady and Wright near the loading dock behind the Classic Center, where Grady had a knife and Wright had the student’s driver’s license, car keys and an ATM receipt for a withdrawal from the student’s bank account.

They were arrested when the student positively identified them as her abductors.

As part of a negotiated agreement with prosecutots, Grady in 2003 pleaded guilty to armed robbery, aggravated assault and kidnapping and was sentenced by Judge Steve Jones to 14 years in prison and six years on probation.

Wright opted for a trial, and after being found guilty on all counts Jones by law sentenced Wright to life in prison because the kidnapping involved bodily injury to the victim.

Grady was released from prison in March 2016, but felony probation violations sent him back to prison from March 2017 to July 25, 2020.

Following his arrest this week Grady was being held at the county jail without bail being set.

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