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
Macomb County Sheriff
Mark Hackel stated that Grant made a
confession to investigators after being
Man gets 50 years
for killing, cutting up wife
February 21, 2008
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 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
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
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
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
Stephen Grant: 'I was the
perfect mom -- not Tara'
George Hunter / The Detroit
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
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
"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."
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
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
"I watched her leave through
the garage and get into a dark car," Grant said.
"That's the last time I saw her."
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
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
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
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
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
"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
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."
to deal with it"
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
Stephen Grant Found Conscious
March 4, 2007
Officials announced the capture of Stephen Grant, following a
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
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
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
“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
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
Stephen Grant missing; parts of
By Joe Swickard, Ben Schmitt, Christy Arboscello
and Amber Hunt
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
After a day of emotional whipsawing, Griem urged his client to
"It's time to bring this to an end."