York County Man Suspected of Fatally Stabbing Mother Heads to Grand Jury

WYDaily.com is your source for free news and information in Williamsburg, James City & York Counties.

Ronnie Lavender Dovbish (Photo courtesy Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail)
Ronnie Lavender Dovbish (Photo courtesy Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail)

Ronnie Lavender Dovbish called 911 at around 1:30 p.m. March 4, 2014 to report the murder of his mother.

Heavy, labored breathing was heard as the call was placed. When the dispatcher answered, Dovbish, then a 19-year-old York County man, told her “there’s been a murder in my house.”

The call came from the 100 block of Ponsonby Drive, but Dovbish did not know the correct street name. He kept saying “110 St. George.”

As the dispatcher tried to get the correct address, Dovbish hung up.

The dispatcher called back twice, and Dovbish answered the second time. He was standing outside on his porch at this time, “waiting,” he told the dispatcher.

The woman repeated the address and Dovbish confirmed it was correct, and then said “oh and by the way, I did it.”

The 911 tape was played in York-Poquoson Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court on Friday during Dovbish’s preliminary hearing, which lasted about 30 minutes.

Dovbish faces second-degree murder for allegedly stabbing his mother, 40-year-old Heather Perkins, to death on March 4, 2014 in Yorkshire Downs, a subdivision in Tabb located off Hampton Highway.

Deputies found Perkins covered in blood in an upstairs bedroom with at least one suspected stab wound to the back and a kitchen knife lying next to her, authorities said.

Two deputies and a sergeant with the York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office testified Friday, sharing details of what they discovered at the scene of the crime and during the interview with Dovbish shortly after he was arrested.

Sgt. Freddy White interviewed Dovbish for about 15 to 20 minutes after deputies discovered his mother’s body, and Dovbish admitted he killed her because of “past memories.”

Dovbish told White he and his mother were “hanging out downstairs watching TV” when Dovbish went upstairs with his mother following him.

In the interview, Dovbish told White that Perkins began “touching” and “pushing on him” when they got into an upstairs bedroom, so he choked her from the back until she fell to the floor.

He then went downstairs, grabbed a kitchen knife, went back upstairs and “finished her off by stabbing her two or three times,” White recalled Dovbish saying.

An autopsy report revealed the cause of death was stab wounds to the back and smothering or strangling, Commonwealth’s Attorney Ben Hahn said.

Dovbish told the sergeant his mother had “gotten physical” with him in the past.

White said Dovbish “had no emotion” during the interview.

Deputy Phillip Duong was the first to arrive on the scene and found Dovbish standing on the porch with his hands clasped, looking straight ahead. He ordered Dovbish to get on the ground and then handcuffed him before taking him to the back of another deputy’s patrol car.

He described Dovbish as acting like he was under the influence of drugs.

“He seemed out of it,” Duong said. At one point while he is placing Dovbish in custody, Duong asks him if there are any other people in the house, and Dovbish replies by “chuckling” and “saying something incoherent.”

While he was in the back of her patrol car, Dovbish told Deputy Jennifer Williamson he had stabbed his mother.

“He had this look on his face … I’ve never seen it before. He was fixated,” Williamson said, adding Dovbish spoke to her without ever looking at her.

A blood test revealed no signs of illegal substances or alcohol in his system at the time, Hahn said. Dovbish underwent a mental health evaluation and was found competent to stand trial.

He will face a grand jury July 21, who will determine if there is enough evidence to proceed to trial in circuit court.

Related Coverage: