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Juan Ignacio Blanco  

 

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Stephen GRANT

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Parricide - Dismemberment
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: February 9, 2007
Date of arrest: March 4, 2007
Date of birth: 1969
Victim profile: Tara Lynn Grant, 34 (his wife)
Method of murder: Strangulation
Location: Washington Township, Michigan, USA
Status: Sentenced to 50 years in prison on February 21, 2008
 
 

 
 

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Stephen Grant was found guilty of second degree murder on December 21, 2007 of his wife.

He was sentenced to 50 years in prison on February 21, 2008. Because he was found guilty of second degree murder, and not the first degree murder charge prosecutors had originally sought, he will be eligible for parole.

He was charged with the murder and dismemberment of his wife, Tara Grant. The Police discovered what they believe to be her torso and other body parts in and around the couple's house in Washington Township Michigan, a suburb of Detroit.

Stephen Grant was arrested in Bliss Township, Michigan at the Wilderness State Park in northern Michigan, some 225 miles from his home. Tara Lynn Grant was last seen February 9, 2007, and Stephen Grant reported her missing five days later. The Grants have two children, a 7-year-old girl and a 5-year-old boy.

Macomb County Sheriff Mark Hackel stated that Grant made a confession to investigators after being captured.


Man gets 50 years for killing, cutting up wife

CNN.com

February 21, 2008

MOUNT CLEMENS, Michigan (AP) -- A man who killed and dismembered his wife was sentenced Thursday to serve at least 50 years behind bars by a judge who called his actions "demonic."

Stephen Grant choked his wife, Tara, to death, then cut up her corpse in a machine shop. After the killing, he tearfully told reporters he wasn't involved in her disappearance.

"Stephen Grant is evil personified," Prosecutor Eric Smith said.

Grant, on the advice of his lawyer, did not speak during the sentencing.

A jury found him guilty in December of second-degree murder. Prosecutors had sought a first-degree murder conviction, but the jury could not unanimously agree that Grant's actions were premeditated.

The defense was seeking a sentence of 15 to 25 years. But Macomb County Circuit Judge Diane Druzinski agreed with the prosecution recommendation of a sentence of 50 to 80 years for the killing.

The judge called Grant's actions "demonic, manipulative, barbaric and dishonest." Grant also received six to 10 years for mutilating the body, to run concurrently with the longer sentence.

Grant, 38, showed little emotion during the hearing, although he looked troubled as Alicia Standerfer, Tara Grant's sister, described how the couple's two young children are struggling with the loss of their mother at the hands of their father.

"He's so much of a coward, he doesn't even look me in the eye in the courtroom," Standerfer said afterward.

Grant contacted the Macomb County sheriff's department on February 14, 2007, and said he had not seen his 34-year-old wife, an operations manager for a large construction firm, since they argued February 9 about her frequent business trips overseas.

On March 2, after allowing deputies with a search warrant inside his home, Grant borrowed a friend's pickup truck and drove away. The deputies found Tara Grant's torso in a container in the garage.

Authorities picked up Grant's trail by tracking cell phone calls that led them to Wilderness State Park, more than 200 miles north. He was found hiding under a tree and wearing only a shirt, slacks and socks in 14-degree weather.

During the trial, a jury heard a graphic, three-hour recorded confession Grant gave while being treated for frostbite and hypothermia at a hospital. They also heard testimony from the Grants' nanny, who said she had sex with Grant the night before he strangled his wife.


Stephen Grant: 'I was the perfect mom -- not Tara'

George Hunter / The Detroit News

Sunday, March 4, 2007

WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP -- Stephen Grant resented the time his wife Tara spent away from home on business, and he often engaged in power struggles with her over "who was boss" and "who was going to run the household," he said.

In his last known interview Friday afternoon -- just hours before the Macomb County Sheriff's Office descended on his home with a search warrant -- Stephen Grant talked to The Detroit News about his growing frustration with his marriage.

Police were searching for Grant today after finding what they said were Tara Grant's body parts in the couple's garage and scattered at Stony Creek Metropark in northern Macomb County.

In a wide-ranging, hour-and-a-half interview with The News on Friday, Stephen Grant said he was offended because Tara treated him like a "valet," and he said she was a bad mother because she didn't spend enough time with their two young children.

During Friday's interview, Grant spoke in an animated voice about feeling disjointed, and how his life was "surreal like I'm walking around in a dream."

"I was the perfect mom -- not Tara."

At one point, Grant extolled his wife for being a "good mother." But a few minutes later, he called her a "bad mother," who never had time for her children.

"I was a better mom than Tara was. There's no other way to put it. I was the mom in the house -- she was gone all the time. If the kids needed someone to take them to swimming, or school, or soccer practice, I took them."

Tara Grant worked for Washington Group International, an Idaho-based construction company. She was a systems manager, whose job often took her overseas.

Grant's sister, Alicia Standerfer, told The News last week that Tara Grant was a loving mother who would fly home often to attend her children's school functions.

But Stephen Grant said his wife never came home for her children's activities.

"Some of her family has said in the media how much she loved her kids, and how she would try to fly back in order to attend their functions," he said. "But that's not true. I can't recall one time when she did that.

"To be honest, as weird as it sounds for me to say this, I was the perfect mom -- not Tara."

Grant said he often struggled with his wife over "trying to show who's boss, and who's going to run the household. It didn't need to be that way."

"I gave up."

Grant said the last time he saw his wife the night of Feb. 9, she walked out of their attached garage and got into a dark-colored car.

"All I could do was close the garage door," he said. "I was done I was tired of bickering about the travel, and I gave up."

Hours after Grant made that statement, investigators found his wife's torso in the garage.

Grant said he quarreled with his wife for several hours Feb. 9, after she told him she planned to fly back to Puerto Rico on business a day earlier than planned.

Tara Grant returned home from her company's Puerto Rican office that night, which was a Friday, and was originally scheduled to fly back Monday morning..

But those plans changed,Stephen Grant said -- "and that's when I got upset."

Despite the frequent bickering, Grant said he never got violent. "It was the opposite -- when she would yell, I'd get quiet," he said.

"In a lot of households, when there's an argument, that means fists are involved," Grant said. "But Tara and I never did that. It wouldn't come close to happening. I wouldn't do it."

But Grant said the two parted on bad terms after their fight.

"She left the house angry," Grant said. "My biggest concern was that I was going to have to explain to the kids the next day why their mother wasn't going to be there like she said she would.

"Before she left, the last words she said to me were, 'don't forget to take my truck in on Monday' (for repairs)," he said. "That really took the wind out of my sails. She was telling me that's all I was; it was like, 'You be the valet and take my car in.'"

After the argument, which Grant said took place in the couple's bedroom, he said his wife went downstairs to the kitchen. He said he heard her have a telephone conversation with someone, saying, "I'll be right out."

"I watched her leave through the garage and get into a dark car," Grant said. "That's the last time I saw her."

A surprise visit

Stephen Grant met Tara Destrampe while she was a student at Michigan State University. He had recently dropped out of school to take a job with former state Sen. Jack Faxon, D-Farmington Hills.

Grant said his wife's appearance changed from when he first met her.

"Tara looked completely different when we met," he said. "She was beautiful it's hard to explain she just looked a lot different. She had the big hair, and it was a different look."

Stephen and Tara stayed platonic friends for a few months after they met -- but not for lack of trying on his part.

"I asked her out, and she turned me down," he said. "She said she kind of had a boyfriend from up north where she was from. I said, 'that's like kind of being pregnant -- either he's your boyfriend or not.' But I respected that, and we were just friends at first."

When Tara's grandmother passed away later that year, she flew to her hometown of Escanaba for the funeral. Before the service started, Tara's family got a surprise visitor: Stephen Grant.

"I felt the right thing to do was to come up and pay my respects to her grandmother," Grant said. "So I drove up. It took all day. I called her and told her I was right there, and she said, 'what?' She was really surprised."

Tara showed up to meet Grant with her boyfriend. "It was awkward," Grant said. "But it wasn't terrible."

He said he went to dinner with the family, "but I felt really out of place. So I drove back to Lansing. The next day, Tara called me and told me she was in love with me."

Early years of marriage

The couple dated for a few months before Tara moved into Grant's Okemos apartment.

"I couldn't find another political job," Grant said. "That was right after 1994, the year the Democrats lost their shirts, and there were a lot of out-of-work Democrats. So I moved down here to work for my dad."

Grant's father owns a tool and die shop in Mount Clemens. Police also searched the shop early Saturday morning for clues, hours after searching Grant's home.

Stephen and Tara married in September 1996. Times were tough at first, he said.

"The economy wasn't so good, and it was hard to find a job," Grant said. "She finally got a temporary job at Morrison Knudsen (which eventually was acquired by the Washington Group.)"

In November, 2000, Tara gave birth to a daughter. Then, in November 2002, she had a son.

"Our son was a surprise," Grant said. "Tara had gotten what she thought was a (birth control) shot, but they gave her a flu shot instead. It was a surprise. At first it was tough, because we weren't ready for that mentally -- we thought it was going to be just one kid. But then he was born, and he was as perfect as his sister was."

"I learned to deal with it"

As Grant's wife climbed the corporate ladder, he said he saw less and less of her.

"She's been traveling all over the world for four years," he said. "It became difficult, but I learned to deal with it.

"I've heard comments in the media from people who said Tara must have met with foul play because she would never have left her babies like that," he said. "But this is the same person who was gone five days a week. Yes, she was there on weekends, but it wasn't out of the ordinary for her to come in, kiss the babies, and then leave again."

The Detroit News published a series of e-mails two weeks ago in which Grant expressed his frustration about his wife's frequent business trips to an ex-girlfriend

In the e-mails, Grant also seemingly flirted with his ex-girlfriend, telling her he wanted to see her naked and that he wanted her to give him a sponge bath.

He also wrote that he thought his wife was having an affair with a co-worker -- a man he referred to as "the old geezer."

Grant said he was joking when he wrote the emails.

"I did say 'I want to see you naked,' but that's because I'm a guy," Grant said. "Men always want to see women naked.

"Those were private emails sent jokingly to an old friend," Grant said. "There are a lot of things people say just kidding around that they wouldn't want to see on the front page of the newspaper."

On Friday -- before police named Grant as a suspect in the case of his wife's disappearance -- Grant said he understood why people thought he killed her.

"That's what I would think when I watched cases like this," he said. "When Laci Peterson came up missing (in 2002), I was sure her husband (Scott) did it. But now I'm on the other side of it.

"I know people think I had something to do with why Tara is missing," Grant said. "But I didn't do it".


Officials Find Stephen Grant In Northern Michigan

Stephen Grant Found Conscious

Clickondetroit.com

March 4, 2007

Officials announced the capture of Stephen Grant, following a massive manhunt.

Stephen Grant was found in Emmet County at 6:50 a.m. Sunday. Local and federal law enforcement agencies found Stephen Grant inside the Wilderness State Park in northern Michigan. Officials airlifted him to Northern Michigan Hospital for health concerns.

A hospital representative gave a briefing on Sunday afternoon to detail Stephen Grant's condition; he stated that Stephen is being treated for hypothermia and frostbite, and that his condition has improved from serious to stable.

According to hospital officials, Stephen Grant has been awake and alert since arriving to the hospital and they said he is being very cooperative with hospital staff.

Stephen Grant is expected to remain in the hospital at least for one more day until his condition improves.

Macomb County Sheriff Mark Hackel said, "He wll be brought back here to answer charges in the murder of his wife Tara Lynn Grant."

Investigators from Macomb County working with Emmet County officials searched the Wilderness State Park overnight and found him hiding outdoors.

Stephen Grant called his sister around 5 p.m. on Saturday to check on his children and police traced that call to northern Michigan, according to Hackel.

Officials said they believed Stephen Grant was “hiding out” in a cabin, but he was found outdoors.

The yellow Dodge truck that Stephen Grant was last seen driving was also located.

The search for Tara Grant came to an end as investigators said they found her torso inside the garage of the Grant home. Now, officials are searching for other body parts.

Hackel proceeded to say that investigators and search crews have recovered more body parts, but was not specific as to what type of parts was found.

“We searched a three quarter square mile area and uncovered quite a bit of remains,” said Hackle during a news briefing on Saturday evening.

“Our search will end at dark and will start early on Sunday," he said. “We will bring in the help of five K-9 dogs to assist in finding the rest of the remains.”

Investigators had a warrant to search the Grant home on Friday evening. During the search, they recovered what they believe to be Tara Grant's torso.

Grant was pulled over about one mile from his Washington Township home on Friday afternoon. Officers placed Stephen Grant in the back of a squad car for about 20 minutes before letting him get into his Jeep.

With squad cars closely following him, Stephen Grant drove to his home in Washington Township where several law enforcement officials who were searching his home greeted him.

At the time of the search, Stephen Grant wasn't being apprehended and was free to walk his property.

Investigators are searching 29 Mile and Mound roads, near Stoney Creek Beach, for more clues. Hackel told Local 4 they have information that leads them to believe there is more evidence in that area.


Stephen Grant missing; parts of body found

By Joe Swickard, Ben Schmitt, Christy Arboscello and Amber Hunt

Freep.com

March 3, 2007

Day after day, Stephen Grant insisted he was an emotionally wracked and wounded husband protecting his two young children.

But police say he was hiding his wife's dismembered body inside the attached garage of their Washington Township home as the youngsters wondered what happened to Mom.

During multiple teary-eyed media interviews in recent weeks, Grant insisted he had no idea what happened to his 34-year-old wife, Tara Lynn Grant, an executive who vanished on the night of Feb. 9. He claimed she returned from her job in Puerto Rico, quarreled with him about how much she was working and then left -- disappearing into a mysterious dark sedan.

"The search today for a missing person has ended with a very tragic result," Macomb County Sheriff Mark Hackel said Saturday.

Named in a murder warrant, Stephen Grant remained missing Saturday, having disappeared during a search of the Grants' home Friday that uncovered the torso of a woman believed to be that of his wife.

Late Saturday, authorities were searching for him in Emmet County in northwestern Lower Michigan. A truck matching the description of the yellow Dodge Dakota Grant borrowed from an acquaintance was found about 10 miles southwest of the Mackinac Bridge.

Despite earlier claims Saturday from Grant's lawyer that his client might take his own life, Hackel said investigators believed Grant to be alive.

Hackel gave few details of what his deputies found at the Grant home but said the torso was "not in plain view." He added that searchers found two guns as well as "several items that could have been used in the commission of a crime."

Detectives, he said, don't know if Tara Lynn Grant was killed in her home.

Macomb County Medical Examiner Daniel Spitz said investigators turned over a thin, female torso that had been dismembered with "some type of sharp instrument."

"There doesn't appear to be any overt injuries besides dismemberment," Spitz said. DNA testing and other procedures will be done.

More body parts were found Saturday at least 2 miles from the home in a wooded area in Stony Creek Metropark, where a search a week ago turned up nothing. It appeared attempts had been made to hide the body parts, Hackel said, not identifying what was found.

Stephen Grant, 37, was charged Saturday with open murder and dismemberment of a corpse. He has not been seen since Friday night soon after unlocking his house for deputies to execute their search warrant.

Hackel has said there was no legal basis to detain him until after the torso was found and thought because he was in contact with his lawyer and relatives, there was no need to tail him.

Hackel said investigators didn't expect to find anything startling -- Grant had let them into the house before. On Saturday, the house remained under police guard. A garage window was covered with a tarp and plywood.

A family at home

The gruesome discoveries were made within an easy arc of the Grant family realm: the home where the children slept, grew and more recently fretted, and the nearby woods, trails and fields where Mom, Dad and the kids, ran, biked and played.

Almost every day, Stephen Grant took the kids -- a boy, age 4 and a girl, age 6 -- by or through the garage. He waved to neighbors on the way to the school bus stop where as a lone dad among a sea of moms he waited with his children.

"I have the creeps right now," said neighbor Brandi Schultz. "A lot of the neighbors are freaked out."

Schultz, 29, said she tried to convince herself that Tara Lynn Grant would one day come home and Stephen Grant was being a good father, taking his kids to school.

"It's just so terrible; those poor kids," said Schultz, who saw Grant almost daily at the bus stop. "That house. How can someone ever live in that house again? This neighborhood: No one's ever going to forget this."

Stephen Grant's lawyer, David Griem, said Stephen Grant's relatives were inconsolable Saturday; Tara Lynn Grant's family did not return calls.

Earlier in the investigation, Stephen Grant's sister Kelly Utykanski described the marriage as good with the usual share of ups and downs.

Alicia Standerfer, Tara Lynn Grant's sister, was initially supportive of Stephen Grant, but said she was bothered because he seemed "verbally controlling."

Twists and surprises

The break in the investigation came unexpectedly -- but the unusual has been par for the case.

Investigators didn't get a search warrant for the house until more than two weeks after Tara Lynn Grant was reported missing, when they thought they finally had probable cause to believe a crime had been committed there.

Tara Lynn Grant worked for Washington Group International, an engineering and consulting firm, employed as a manager in the San Juan office. Stephen Grant told authorities he and she argued because she planned to go back to the Caribbean that Sunday, Feb. 11, instead of on Monday, as usual.

He said he thought she was angry at him when she left and that's why she didn't call. In an interview with the Free Press on Feb. 21, Grant said he'd rather his wife were with another man "than come to any harm."

He also said detectives warned him he was "the No. 1 suspect; the husband always is."

Hackel insisted Grant wasn't a suspect until Friday night.

There were other twists: In a tabloid turn, a former sweetheart turned over to the Detroit News recent e-mails from Stephen Grant in which he mocked marriage vows and offered to let the woman, a nursing student, practice sponge baths on him. He also raised questions about his wife's relations with an old boyfriend and an older man at work.

To the Free Press, Grant dismissed the e-mails as foolish but innocent joking.

As the case progressed Hackel and Griem publicly dueled. Grant volunteered to join in a search last week, but when Griem read Hackel's earlier comment that perhaps Grant could point out the body, the offer was loudly withdrawn.

There were fights about turning over evidence. The sheriff complained of foot-dragging, and Griem said he'd deal only through faxed requests and questions because of the department's attitude and tactics.

Grant spoke with officers for hours inside his home when he first reported his wife missing. He said he expected a "CSI" TV show-style swab down when he OK'd evidence technicians coming in. The technicians searched elsewhere in the house while he spoke with detectives.

He said he was asked about computers, and a photo was taken of a small wound on his nose.

Griem said things changed when deputies dramatically arrested Grant for outstanding traffic fines the day after he reported his wife missing -- corralling his vehicle with three scout cars -- and closely questioned him for six hours.

Hackel said that account was overblown.

On Friday night, Griem denounced the search as legally flimsy media grandstanding, vowing on television to put the warrant "where the sun don't shine."

Stephen Grant disappears

By the time the torso was found, Stephen Grant was gone. Authorities began to scour the area for him, contacting relatives, combing his neighborhood, reaching out to his lawyer.

"By no means did we expect to recover what we did," said Hackel.

The situation changed after midnight Friday when Griem said he took two calls from Grant, leading him to believe that his client had killed himself: "I think he's gone."

"I spoke with him twice early this morning," Griem said Saturday morning. "And after the second conversation I had no doubt he was going to commit suicide within minutes."

Griem said Grant turned down repeated pleas to meet in the calls from a pay phone at an unidentified hotel.

"He was increasingly emotionally distraught," Griem said. "He had a hard time getting sentences out coherently. He was rambling. I was telling him all the reasons he needed to live -- most especially, two main reasons: a little 4-year-old and a little 6-year-old."

Throughout the day, tips rolled in Saturday that Stephen Grant and the Dodge Dakota truck he borrowed from a friend had been spotted anywhere from Lansing to Detroit.

The owner of the Dakota truck apparently had no idea he was helping out a soon-to-be fugitive.

"Even with all that we know now," Hackel said, "there's still going to be people out there who are friends of his who won't believe he did this."

After a day of emotional whipsawing, Griem urged his client to surrender:

"It's time to bring this to an end."

 

 

 
 
 
 
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