FVSU stabbing suspect: ‘I’m not a killer’

18-year-old Donnell Phelps was killed trying to protect a group of girls.
18-year-old Donnell Phelps was killed trying to protect a group of girls.

FORT VALLEY, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT ) – The man accused of fatally stabbing a Fort Valley State University student Tuesday afternoon made his first appearance in court on Thursday.

Joseph Scott Jr., 24, was very aggressive and upset as he was speaking with a magistrate court judge.

Scott is charged with fatally stabbing 18-year-old Donnell Phelps, a FVSU freshman studying Agricultural Engineering Technology.

As the judge explained what happens to Scott moving forward, he became frustrated and lashed out at the judge, even turning his back.

“I would like to run through this entire situation ASAP. However you need. Well I forgot what you just asked me since everyone is watching me and taking pictures and <expletive>,” Scott said.

After the judge finished telling Scott everything he needed to know, including denying his  bond, Scott then began to yell saying “he was a wildcat.”

“I understand that you guys are looking at me like a killer. I’m not a <expletive> killer. I’m sorry I’m yelling,” Scott said before being escorted out of the courtroom.

According to the GBI, Phelps tried stopping Scott from harassing a group of girls outside of the school’s cafeteria.

Joseph Scott
Joseph Scott

The two then got into a fight when Scott pulled out a three-inch knife and stabbed Phelps four times. Phelps tried running to get help for himself, but collapsed on campus. He died a short time later.

“When he intervened, he ended up getting into a struggle with Scott. Scott actually pulled out a pocket knife, and we’ve got that knife in our possession,” J.T. Ricketson, the special agent in charge with the GBI, said in a news conference Wednesday.

Investigators said Scott is a former FVSU student.

Joseph Scott, 24, is charged with murder, aggravated assault and possession of a knife during the commission of a felony, according to the his booking report from the Peach County Sheriff’s Office.

The arrest report also says Scott was “very combative when arrested” and advises people who interact with him to “use caution.”

Phelps’ best friend, Dianerra Smith, says that’s the type of person he was, always looking out for other people and it’s one of the things she’ll miss most about him.

“Everything…being able to talk to him about anything. He’ll just sit there and listen,” she said.

Campus Police Officer Ernest Johnson was also stabbed seven times.

“Scott knocks on the window and Officer Johnson does not know any of this previous information, so he opens the door. As soon as he opens the door, Scott immediately started assaulting him,” Ricketson said.

According to FVSU Police Chief Ken Morgan, Johnson was released from the hospital and is recovering at home.


Previous articleCat Of The Week: Zina
Next articleBibb Co. Sheriff’s Deputy dies in car wreck
(478) 745-4141 ext. 311 Skyler joined the 41 NBC News Team in April 2013. He anchors the news at 6 p.m. and also covers stories going on throughout the day. He was born in Brooklyn, New York and raised in Stone Mountain, Georgia, a suburb right outside of Atlanta. Before heading to Middle Georgia, Skyler worked as a stage manager for WSB- TV in Atlanta. Skyler graduated from Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Georgia in 2011 with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Multimedia Communication. He went to school initially to be an architect, but one step inside of the student radio station changed everything. While at Georgia Southern, he was exposed to radio and television and became the Program Director of the student radio station and was a part of a team that received a Southeast Regional student Emmy for their work on the program "Inside Georgia Southern Football." Skyler anchored and reported for Georgia Southern University's "Eagle News." There he covered the 2010 midterm elections live as well as reported on stories in the community. In the Spring 2012, Skyler interned for Clear Channel in Los Angeles, California. Skyler is a proud member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated. In his free time, you can find Skyler watching the latest movies and reading up on all things in Hollywood. He also loves spending time with his family and friends and finding inspirational quotes. He loves telling stories about politics, tax dollars at work in the community, and highlighting people and business who don’t normally get the spotlight. If you have any story ideas, email Skyler at shenry@41nbc.com.