Deputies investigate stabbing death

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Al Key/DRC
Denton County law enforcement personnel look for evidence around a crime scene at a house on Webb Road just north of Mingo Road Thursday morning October 31, 2013, in Denton.
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Deputies with the Denton County Sheriff’s Office are investigating the stabbing death of a man, who was found in a house in the 3100 block of Webb Road.

According to the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office, Joshua W. Mabrey, 36, of Ponder died at 6:28 a.m. Thursday. He was found in the living room of a home in a small neighborhood near Cooper Creek, in an unincorporated area east of Denton.

No official cause of death was listed on the medical examiner’s website as of late Thursday afternoon.

Deputies arrived at the house on a welfare call at about 6:50 a.m. and found Mabrey’s body with at least one stab wound to the abdomen.

Investigators were still at the scene well into the afternoon Thursday, long after the medical examiner removed Mabrey’s body from the house at about 1:15 p.m. wrapped in a quilt.

A young woman at the scene asked a Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman whether deputies had confirmed the identity of the victim. She had come to the scene to find out whether it was true that the person who had died was the father of her baby, she said.

A few minutes later, a sheriff’s deputy emerged from a house across the street escorting a man who was wearing a knit cap.

“I knew I was going to get into trouble for this, but I had nothing to do with this, sir,” the man said as he sat down, handcuffed, in the back of the deputy’s car.

Earlier that morning, Denton County Sheriff William Travis said that he believed one person was in custody in connection with the death.

Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Sandi Brackeen said Thursday afternoon that the office was releasing no details on any individuals in custody.

Another man who lived in the home across the street went to the commercial trash bin between the two homes at least twice and pulled items out of the bin. By 2 p.m., additional investigators from the Sheriff’s Office arrived at the scene, working in areas around the house and also going through the trash bin.

Neighbor Sherrie Schurbet said trouble came to the neighborhood, which is comprised of about a dozen homes built in the late 1950s and early 1960s, when another man moved into the house about two years ago with a girlfriend.

He hadn’t been living there long when they watched one night as he threw furniture out his front door. After that, the girlfriend was gone and a string of girls moved in and out of the place with the man. One of the girls came to her house to take a shower and eat, telling them there was never any food in the place, Schurbet said.

There were always lots of cars coming and going, too, Schurbet said.

For a time, people would park in her front yard, walk to the house and then come back. Schurbet and her husband decided to call the Sheriff’s Office and complain, telling deputies that they suspected people were smoking “ice” and dealing methamphetamine out of the house.

They put up with the parties, though.

“One time they were out weed-whacking around the place at 4 o’clock in the morning,” Schurbet said.

She was concerned about reports from neighbors that one person involved in the incident was still at large, but Brackeen said deputies had talked with everyone involved.

“Right now, they aren’t looking for anybody else,” Brackeen said.

According to Denton County court records, Mabrey had been booked into the Denton County jail 15 times between 1996 and 2008 on charges ranging from driving without a license to drug possession.

Staff writers Megan Gray and Jenna Duncan contributed to this report.

PEGGY HEINKEL-WOLFE can be reached at 940-566-6881 and via Twitter @phwolfeDRC.

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