He had been in trouble before and spent several years in prison. But Stanley Hugh Ivy was a changed man, the type who would do anything to help someone in need, his best friend of 25 years said Wednesday.
“Stanley would help anybody,” Jason Stancil told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “If you needed help, Stanley would break his neck to come get you.”
But on Tuesday, a man whom Ivy had tried to help turned on him, according to Ivy’s family. Ivy, 47, was stabbed to death by 31-year-old Whitney Kyle Stovall, according to the Barrow County Sheriff’s Office. Stovall then grabbed a baseball bat and attacked another man before a neighbor turned the bat on him, friends said. Stovall also died, police said.
Ivy knew Stovall’s parents, according to another friend, David Simms. Ivy had helped Stovall a few times.
On Tuesday, Stovall knocked on the door at Ivy’s Braselton home on Old Hog Mountain Road, needing to talk. The two went outside to the barn where Ivy and his friends would often hang out. Others joined them, and somehow the situation escalated into violence.
“It all started with something about stealing a horse,” Simms said.
Stovall held a knife to the neck of Ivy’s brother-in-law Bubba, who has autism, friends said. Ivy immediately asked Stovall for the knife, but he wouldn’t hand it over, instead putting it in his pocket. Minutes later, when Stovall grabbed the knife again, he went after Ivy, Simms said.
“He totally caught him off guard,” Stancil said.
Stovall stabbed Ivy multiple times, including once in the area of his heart, his friends said. Ivy screamed that he’d been stabbed before falling to his knees and then face-first onto the ground, the friends said.
Stovall then grabbed a baseball and began beating another man, a friend of Ivy’s who witnessed the stabbing, Stancil said. That man, whose name was not released, was able to get the bat away from Stovall.
By then, the commotion had gotten the attention of a neighbor, who ran to the barn area to help. That neighbor called 911 and took the bat, beating Stovall with it, according to Ivy’s friends.
“Upon arrival at the residence, deputies encountered a belligerent and combative male brandishing a baseball bat,” the Barrow sheriff’s office said in an emailed statement. “The individual was placed into custody following a struggle with the deputies.”
Stovall died from his injuries. Barrow Sheriff Jud Smith requested the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s assistance with the investigation because of the complexity the situation, the state agency said Wednesday. No charges have been filed in the case, and autopsies will be conducted at the state crime lab on both Ivy and Stovall, the GBI said.
Wednesday afternoon, both Simms and Stancil struggled to understand how everything had changed so fast. After learning of Ivy’s death, both went to his home late Tuesday afternoon. Ivy is survived by his wife and two children, friends said. Stancil said he can’t imagine life without the friend he saw every day.
“He was my flight from God a long time ago,” Stancil said. “He was my angel that watched over me all the time. I am totally devastated.”