Brother Stabs Sibling in Sayre
By Rick Hiduk
Four Sayre Borough police officers responded to the scene of a stabbing in the 100 block of Hoover Street in the early morning hours of Dec. 17. An argument between two brothers, Shawn, 30, and Justin McGrath, 27, had grown progressively violent, and, despite the pleas of their mother, Anita McGrath, for them to stop what she later told police was habitual squabbling between the siblings, Justin grabbed a kitchen knife and stabbed his older brother in the side of his upper chest.
As far as police can tell, both of the young men had been drinking and arrived home within an hour or so of each other. Shawn indicated that he was already in bed when Justin came home, and that Justin was complaining loudly to his mother about local people dumping things in their backyard and that Shawn confronted Justin about the tone of language he was using with their mother.
An argument apparently ensued that led the siblings to their kitchen, where Shawn allegedly threw a 12-pack of beer at Justin and hit him in the face. That action led to a tussle that took both young men to the floor, which resulted in Shawn bleeding from his mouth. Shawn said that Justin had hit him in the face. Justin told police that Shawn hit an open cabinet door.
Their accounts continue to vary greatly from that point, with Justin claiming that the fight spilled on to the front porch, where he said that he cut his brother in self-defense. Shawn insisted that Justin stabbed him in the kitchen, where police did observe blood on the floor, as well as a mark on a cupboard door that Shawn told police was a result of a failed initial attempt by Justin to cut him.
Anita reportedly told police that she did not witness the use of the weapon and did not know that the fight had reached such a level of intensity until Shawn yelled to ask her where the phone was so that he could call for help. When she responded that she did not know where the phone was, Shawn left the house, holding his side, and walked to a friend’s house in the 100 block of Bradford Street, which is where police found him.
Meanwhile, Justin had walked behind the McGrath residence, where police found him, and where he had plunged the bloody knife into the ground, an act that he allegedly later admitted to after police found and photographed the blade.
“I am the one who stuck it in the ground,” Justin said, according to police. “I knew the cops were coming, and I was scared, so I pushed the knife into the ground.”
Shawn was taken to the emergency room at Robert Packer Hospital for treatment of his wounds, which were apparently not severe as he was released a short time later. Shawn was remanded to the custody of police for his part in the case of extreme domestic violence. Justin remains incarcerated in lieu of $100,000 bail and was scheduled to answer to two charges of aggravated assault and simple assault. Shawn was charged with simple assault, harassment, and public drunkenness. A preliminary hearing for both was set for Dec. 20.