Dothan man who claimed his girlfriend died in accident charged with murder

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Abbeville, AL (WTVY) A Dothan man is charged with murdering his longtime companion, who he claims died from injuries suffered in a 2018 traffic wreck.

Photo of Jeanina Gravette family submitted via Henry County Sheriff's Office

“On June 24, the Ford Fusion (37-year old Jeanina Gravette) was driving ran off County Road 7 near Newville and went into some trees,” Henry County Sheriff’s Investigator Keith Cauthen told WTVY. Jeanina was sometimes referred to a Jeanine.

LaFelix Thomas, traveling with Gravette, took her to a nearby home and an ambulance transported her to a Dothan hospital. She died after spending several days on life support.

Investigators doubted Thomas' story even though the car may have been traveling up to 90 miles per hour before it crashed into a small clump of trees.

A state trooper report obtained by WTVY last year concluded that Gravette's injuries did not cause her death.

“We just kept working with the evidence and it finally paid off,” Henry County Sheriff Will Maddox said Monday, following Thomas' arrest.

After months of investigating the case, a Henry County Grand Jury determined there is sufficient evidence to indict Thomas for beating Gravette, likely after the crash.

Tina's mother had little doubt that her daughter died from physical abuse. She said Thomas and Gravette had been together on and off for about 10 years and he had a history of abusing her. Things got so bad, Rogers said, that her daughter sought refuge in a shelter for battered women.

Rogers said, as many victims do, Gravette went back to Thomas and that likely cost her life. “I hope what happened to her will save someone else,” she told WTVY Monday after learning of the arrest.

Thomas’ criminal history shows numerous arrests for illegal drugs, theft, burglary and, in 2005, domestic violence involving a woman other than Gravette.

He is held without bond in the Henry County Jail.