Suspect in bizarre killing to stand trial

LAWRENCEVILLE - A murder trial is expected to begin Monday for a Duluth man accused of fatally stabbing his elderly neighbor in a drug-induced frenzy.

Alvenio "Johnny" Culpepper is said to have stabbed 64-year-old Jenny Rider Neville multiple times after a brief scuffle in September 2006. Culpepper lived below the victim in a duplex off Davenport Road in Duluth.

Culpepper allegedly told investigators he was on a drug-induced high when he went to Neville's apartment to get more cash for drugs. Neville was stabbed multiple times in the neck and torso. Police found a knife believed to be the murder weapon beneath her doormat.

Neville lived alone, having recently retired from the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance. She was also a breast cancer survivor, friends said at the time.

Culpepper was arrested four days after the killing in Easton, Pa., where he had reportedly been staying with his brother. He was extradited to the Gwinnett County Jail, where he's remained since without bond.

Investigators haven't divulged what type of drugs Culpepper was allegedly taking.

Culpepper's 13-year-old son, who could be a key witness, was downstairs when the stabbing occurred. The boy had come to live with his father a few weeks prior to the stabbing, after Culpepper and his child's mother agreed he needed a good male role model, a detective said at the time.

Culpepper, then 33, allegedly left a note for investigators on his bed before he skipped town.

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to hurt anybody," the note reportedly read. "The drugs got the best of me."

Jury selection in Culpepper's trial is expected Monday. Superior Court Judge Timothy Hamil will preside.