Rock Hill man with past DUI conviction charged with two killings

jmcfadden@heraldonline.comOctober 19, 2013 


UPDATE 11:45 a.m. Sunday:

York County coroner Sabrina Ghast confirmed the identity of the second victim as Sandra Grose, 65.

Grose died of blunt force trauma to chest. She lived at the home on Mt. Gallant where police also found her body. There is confusion as to whether Sandra Grose was the suspect's biological mother or stepmother.

"We have exhausted every avenue that we can," Ghast said of trying to locate Sandra Grose's next of kin. Anyone with information on Grose's family members is asked to contact the coroner's office at 803-909-8400.



A 34-year-old Rock Hill man with past convictions for DUI and drugs used his car to run over and kill two women and injure another man Friday night, according to police.

Joshua Matthew Grose remains jailed without bond after he was arrested late Friday after a pair of incidents near his Mount Gallant Road home. One of the women killed was Sandra Thomas, 53, who lived around the corner from Grose in the River Pines subdivision northwest of Rock Hill.

Grose is charged with two counts of murder, attempted murder, and grand larceny.

The Grose and Thomas homes are separated by only a couple hundred yards.

The women were killed between 6 p.m. and 6:15 p.m. Friday. Other than the proximity of the homes, the connection between Grose and Thomas remains unclear. Thomas died from blunt force trauma to her chest, said Sabrina Gast, York County Coroner.

An autopsy was conducted on the second woman’s body, but her name was not released Saturday because coroner’s officials have not yet found family to notify about her death. The name of the injured man, and his relationship to Grose or the other victims, also has not been released.

Police have not released a motive for the crimes and have declined to speculate on what caused Grose to use his car to kill both women. However, police have determined Grose “is responsible for both deaths,” according to Trent Faris, a spokesman for the York County Sheriff’s Office.

A murder charge requires allegations of malice before the killing.

Grose is charged with murder in Thomas’ death. Warrants for the other death and injuries are pending. Because of the murder charge, a circuit court judge must hold a bond hearing for Grose.

Thomas lived at the corner of Woodside and Kingswood Drive. Woodside Drive runs parallel to Mount Gallant, only about 100 yards north of Mount Gallant. Thomas was found dead outside near her house.

A neighbor on Woodside Drive, Lou Cannon, said that police have not given neighbors any details about the killings, but people who live nearby had been concerned about Joshua Grose. He said Grose, whose address is listed at 5316 Mount Gallant Road on previous arrest records, lived directly behind Cannon's house.

“She was a very nice lady, Sandra,” Cannon said of Sandra Thomas. “This is a quiet neighborhood. Most of the time.”

Cannon said that Grose had acted erratically previously and police had been called by a different neighbor to investigate. At least two of those calls were within recent weeks, Cannon said.

Cannon said he had warned Joshua Grose to stay away from his property: the Cannon home and the Grose home are separated by a wooden fence. Cannon said he screwed a gate in the fence shut to keep Grose from coming through it onto his property.

“Everybody around here knew about him,” Cannon said of Joshua Grose.

Police said no other information about Grose’s recent past was available.

Other neighbors were unsettled and anxious over two deaths so close to home. Debbie Shuler, a neighbor of victim Sandra Thomas, described Thomas as a “sweet soul” who “never said a bad thing about anybody.”

The murder makes it even more shocking: Debbie Shuler and her family watched police swarm the River Pines subdivision Friday night.

“Now that something like this has happened, it takes away your sense of security,” Shuler said.

Brandon Shuler, Debbie Shuler’s son, called Sandra Thomas a “second mom.”

Shuler and Thomas' son, Michael, first met as fourth graders at nearby Mount Gallant Elementary School. They became buddies, he said, and Brandon Shuler found himself at the Thomas home nearly every day after school.

The mothers would often alternate driving the boys to school.

“She was an awesome woman,” Brandon Shuler said. “She was always loving, always inviting...For her to be a victim of something like this, it doesn’t make sense.”

Online court records show that Grose was convicted of DUI and traffic offenses in 2012 and has been convicted of driving crimes for at least 15 years.

In one incident in March 2012, Grose was arrested by Rock Hill Police for DUI after allegedly leaving his car parked haphazardly at an Anderson Road convenience store after driving recklessly and hitting a construction cone. Inside the car, according to that March 2012 Rock Hill Police Department report, Grose had open bottles of Wild Turkey bourbon, Bacardi rum, and beer.

Grose also has at least one other previous DUI conviction, in 2005; has a drug distribution conviction in 2004; and a felony conviction of filing a false police report in 2008, court records show.

Jonathan McFadden •  803-329-4082

Andrew Dys •  803-329-4065

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