LaGrange murder suspect sought in Columbus, motive unclear - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

LaGrange murder suspect sought in Columbus, motive unclear

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

A LaGrange family is in mourning following the untimely death of 20-year-old Dejerius Hardnett.

Residents in The Grove neighborhood called 911 after Hardnett, who is known to his friends as D.J., collapsed in the middle of Bailey's Way on Sunday, Aug. 24.  He was the victim of a stabbing wound.

The crime scene is in a fairly new housing development with many empty lots. The neighborhood is far from the victim's house, and it's not clear to investigators why he was there.

Robin Hardnett wishes that her last moment with her grandson was more sentimental, and that she could have cooked a last meal for him. She had no way of knowing that this would be their final conversation.

"He asked, 'What did you cook today?,' and I said, 'It's find-day in my house.' Then he asked, 'What does that mean?' I said, ‘Find-day means you've got to find yourself something to eat.'"

She said one of her grandson's favorite movies as a child was Cop and A Half.  She said he used to watch the movie with her almost every day, to the point that he had every line memorized. 

LaGrange Police just released a new picture of a man who could be responsible. Devonte Cortez Thorpe was caught on surveillance video in the lobby of the Midtown Medical Center hours after the attack occurred.  Hardnett was never there, however. He was flown straight to Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta. His grandmother got there as soon as she could.

"The doctor came out, and told us that he did all he could do, but he lost too much blood," Robin said.

Police don't know the motive for the murder, but they believe the suspect took off from the scene in the victim's 2011 charcoal gray Chevrolet Impala.  Hardnett's family says they've never heard the Thorpe's name before, but now the grandmother has a question for him.

"All I want to know is, why D.J.?" Robin cried. "Out of all these people, why D.J.?  D.J. Didn't do anything to anybody."

In addition to his sighting at a Columbus hospital on the day of the murder, police have received additional tips that Thorpe continues to be seen in the Columbus area.

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