A member of a prominent Trumbull County family is being held in the county jail on $2 million bond for the murder of an elderly man in his Warren Township home earlier this month.
Friends and family continue to mourn the loss of Milton Grumbling, 71, who was fatally stabbed in his home.
Pastor James Ellison of the Tod Avenue United Methodist Church said Grumbling, a longtime member, just liked to help people.
“Very giving, had a good sense of humor and was anxious to serve,” said Ellison.
While police are not releasing a motive for the crime, Grumbling may have tried to help Patrick Heltzel, 20, when he allegedly stabbed him to death.
“As part of our ministries with the Masons, he would mentor young men, some of them in very troubled circumstance,” said Ellison.
Grumbling often spent time at the Masonic Temple in Warren where he would play the organ, which is something longtime friend Allen Briggs said he will miss.
“That is one of the big things we will always miss because we have a nice pipe organ in our lodge and anybody public comes to see this, Milt was one of the only people who could play that,” said Briggs.
Briggs said he was shocked that his friend was murdered the way he was.
“It didn’t matter who you were, how old you were, Milt was there to hep you if you needed help, and most of the time you didn’t have to ask for it,” said Briggs. “If he saw you needed help, he would come over and say, Hey, I will give you a hand.”
Heltzel, of Atlantic Street N.E. in Warren, pleaded not guilty Friday at his initial appearance in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court on a prosecutor’s warrant charging him with murdering Grumbling.
Heltzel was transported from Greensboro, N.C. by authorities after he was arrested in his mother’s hometown in a stolen car.
An arrest affidavit filed in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court says Heltzel admitted stabbing Grumbling to his mother.
The affidavit says Grumbling was found dead by police on April 4 at his 4464 Kincaide East home with multiple stab wounds to his heart and several facial fractures. His torso was bloodied, his dentures broken and a broken remote control was found under Grumbling’s face.
Warren Township Lt. Don Bishop, the acting police chief, wrote Heltzel’s father, Larry, filed a police report with Warren police the day before Grumbling was found dead that said Patrick Heltzel was using his father’s vehicle without permission and that the younger Heltzel was “going to kill someone.”
Investigators found Heltzel contacted Grumbling. Heltzel’s father told police his son had “drug problems and mental issues in the past,” the affidavit says.
The day after the murder, the affidavit says, Bishop called Heltzel’s mother’s home in Greensboro. Heltzel told Bishop he knew Grumbling and was at his home the day before officers found Grumbling dead.
Heltzel’s mother then called Bishop crying, the affidavit says. His mother told Bishop after he talked with her son that Patrick told her he “stabbed a guy named Milton.”