Murder of Tara Lynn Grant

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Tara Grant c. 2006

Tara Lynn Grant (June 28, 1972 − February 9, 2007) was an American woman from Washington Township, Macomb County, Michigan, who was murdered by her husband Stephen Grant, in February 2007. The case gained large attention, both in Michigan and the entire United States.

Case[edit]

On February 14, 2007 Stephen Grant notified the Macomb County Sheriff's office in Macomb County, Michigan to report that his wife, Tara Lynn Grant, was missing.[1] After interviewing Grant, authorities discovered a period of five days had lapsed between the time Grant had last seen his wife and when he notified police of her disappearance. Grant explained it was not the first time his wife had disappeared and, therefore, he didn't immediately notify police. Grant told police that on the evening of February 9, 2007 he had overheard his wife talking with someone on the phone, telling them, "I'll meet you at the end of the driveway". Grant said he saw his wife get into a dark-colored vehicle which then drove off. He told police he had not seen or heard from his wife since that evening.

Throughout the investigation, Stephen Grant made numerous television appearances, at times accusing authorities of harassment. The day after reporting his wife missing, Grant was stopped by police and arrested for driving on a suspended license. Grant accused the police of using the traffic arrest solely as an excuse to take him into custody and question him about his wife's disappearance. Police denied the accusation.

Authorities were able to bring the search for Tara Lynn Grant to a close in just over two weeks. On March 2, 2007 a search warrant was executed at the Grant home in Washington Township and a portion of her dismembered body was discovered in the garage. An arrest warrant for open murder was immediately issued for Stephen Grant. On March 4, 2007, after tracking a cell phone call made to his sister, Grant was located in northern Michigan's Wilderness State Park. He was found to be suffering from weather-related injuries and, after being taken into custody, he was airlifted to an area hospital. According to authorities, Grant gave a complete and detailed confession saying he had strangled his wife before dismembering her body. An autopsy performed by the Macomb County coroner's office confirmed strangulation as the cause of Tara Lynn Grant's death and determined she was likely killed on February 9, 2007.

Stephen Grant's disappearance and capture[edit]

According to police, Stephen Grant was less than cooperative with them throughout their investigation. He refused to answer questions. However, he did agree to take a polygraph test, as long as it was administered by someone other than the police. On March 2, 2007, police executed a search warrant at the home of Stephen and Tara Grant in Washington Township, Michigan. A human torso, believed to be that of Tara Grant, was found in the garage. An open murder arrest warrant was immediately issued for Stephen Grant. Grant, however, was nowhere to be found. He had fled the area in a pick up truck he borrowed from an unsuspecting friend. On March 4, 2007, a cell phone call Grant made to his sister was tracked and he was located 280 miles away in Emmet County, Michigan. With the assistance of a United States Coast Guard helicopter crew, he was pursued and captured by local, state, and federal authorities while hiding in the Wilderness State Park. Clad only in pants, shirt, and socks in the frigid northern Michigan weather, Grant was suffering from minor frostbite and hypothermia at the time of his capture.[2] He was taken into custody and airlifted to Northern Michigan Hospital where he was hospitalized for a brief period of time. According to authorities, during his hospitalization Grant gave a full confession, explaining in detail how he had first fought with Tara Grant before strangling her.[3][4][5][6] He said he then took the body to a family owned tool and die shop where it was dismembered. He said he then took the remains to nearby Stony Creek Metro Park[7][8] in Shelby Township and disposed of the body parts there. However, upon learning that police would soon be conducting a search in that area, Grant returned to the Metro Park and recovered the torso of Tara Grant. He returned home and hid the remains in black plastic garbage bags in the garage.

According to his spoken and written confessions, Stephen Grant killed his wife during an argument, after she had slapped and belittled him. The veracity of his statements has not yet been determined. He was released from Northern Michigan Hospital and was transported to Macomb County by a convoy of Sheriff Deputies. On March 6, 2007 Grant was formally charged with count one homicide, murder in the first degree that is premeditated and with count two disinterment and/or mutilation of a dead body. The charge of count one homicide in the first degree that is premeditated is punishable by life in prison. The charge of disinterment, dismemberment, is punishable by up to 10 years in prison or a $5,000 fine or both.

Aftermath[edit]

On April 13, 2007, Stephen Grant's confession was released to the public, including the entire conversation he had with authorities,[9] and a written confession that he gave police.[10] Tara's family decided that her children will be able to read the confession when they are adults.[11][12] Grant's sister was given authority against her estate[13] and she has filed a wrongful death suit against Stephen Grant.[14][15]

On June 13, 2008 Stephen's father, William Allen Grant, committed suicide in Capac, Michigan, from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.[16][17] Early reports indicate William Grant was seeking some visitation with the two Grant grandchildren.

Media coverage[edit]

Grant's murder has gained strong media coverage, in Michigan as well as the entire United States. During the search, the Macomb County Sheriff's Department, which retained jurisdiction in the case, told the public that they would hold a press conference each day during the search, until Tara was eventually found. After Stephen Grant's arrest, the story was featured on Larry King Live and Court TV; more recently it was told on the Biography Channel's series "Casanova Killers", as well as Investigation Discovery's series "Scorned: Love Kills", Season 1, Ep. 8: "The Au Pair Affair", since the murder appeared to be predicated by an affair, confessed by Grant, with the couple's au pair, Verena Dierkes, who he had groomed and manipulated into the affair when she was only nineteen years old.[18] On March 12, 2007 the defense request for a gag order was rejected.[19]

There have been at least two books written about the case, A Slaying in the Suburbs: The Tara Grant Murder,[20] covers the case and includes the only interviews with Grant after his arrest. Author Miller visited Grant several times at the Bellamy Creek Correctional Facility. "Limb From Limb," was written by Detroit News crime reporter George Hunter, who covered the case from the beginning, and former Detroit News editor Melissa Preddy.

Verdict[edit]

On Friday, December 21, 2007 Stephen Grant was found guilty on the charge of murder in the second degree. On Thursday, February 21, 2008, he was sentenced to a minimum of fifty years in prison. On March 30, 2010, Grant lost his final appeal in state court, leaving intact the original sentence of 50–80 years.[21] The Michigan Supreme Court affirmed a lower court decision that found Grant's trial was not unduly prejudiced by pretrial publicity in the widely covered case, nor was Grant improperly denied access to an attorney before making a confession to police.[21]

In March 2015, U.S. District Court Judge David Lawson denied Grant's “petition for writ of habeas corpus," where Grant claims that police improperly obtained his confession in his hospital bed as he was being treated for hypothermia and exposure and also denied Grant's claim that pre-trial publicity made it impossible for him to receive a fair trial. Lawson said that officials in Macomb County took “extraordinary measures” to ensure that a fair and impartial jury was seated.[22]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Snell, Robert; Francis X. Donnelly and Ronald J. Hansen (24 February 2007). "Who is Tara Grant?". The Detroit News. Archived from the original on 10 February 2012. Retrieved 13 March 2007. 
  2. ^ "Stephen Grant Hospitalized With Frostbite, Hypothermia". clickondetroit. WDIV Detroit. March 5, 2007. Archived from the original on 6 March 2007. Retrieved 13 March 2007. 
  3. ^ George Hunter and Christina Stolarz (March 6, 2007). "Finally, he admits it: Grant faces 1st-degree murder charge" (online). The Detroit News. Retrieved 13 March 2007. [dead link][dead link]
  4. ^ "Michigan man reportedly confesses to killing, dismembering wife" (online). The Associated Press. March 5, 2007. Retrieved 13 March 2007. [dead link]
  5. ^ "Police: Man Describes Killing Wife in Hospital Bed Confession". Fox News.com; Fair & Balanced. Associated Press. 14 April 2007. Retrieved 18 March 2012. 
  6. ^ Arboscello, Christy (5 March 2007). "Grant admits he hid torso, then retrieved it, sheriff says". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved 18 March 2012. 
  7. ^ Esparza, Santiago (March 10, 2007). "Hundreds gather at Stony Creek Metropark to remember Tara" (online). The Detroit News. Retrieved 13 March 2007. [dead link][dead link]
  8. ^ "Stephen Grant loses final appeal". clickondetroit. 30 March 2010. Retrieved 18 March 2012. 
  9. ^ "Stephen Grant's Confession" (PDF). Click on Detroit. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-19. Retrieved 27 July 2012. 
  10. ^ "Stephen Grant's handwritten confession" (PDF). Click on Detroit. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-19. Retrieved 27 July 2012. 
  11. ^ Grant's Children to See Confession when They Are Adults Archived 24 May 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
  12. ^ Esparza, Santiago (15 April 2007). "Tara Grant's sister on the confession: 'The devil is what came to mind'". The Detroit News. Retrieved 18 March 2012. [permanent dead link]
  13. ^ Tara Grant's sister gains authority over her estate Archived 22 April 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
  14. ^ Grant's sister files wrongful death suit Archived 20 April 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
  15. ^ "Judge Rules In Grant Wrongful Death Suit". WZZM13. 17 May 2007. Retrieved 18 March 2012. 
  16. ^ Macomb Daily : Grant's dad commits suicide 06/14/08[dead link]
  17. ^ "Stephen Grant's father commits suicide". clickondetroit. 13 June 2008. Retrieved 18 March 2012. 
  18. ^ Hunter, George; Steve Pardo; Christina Solarz (14 April 2007). "Grant's confession: He describes grisly killing, admits affair with au pair". The Detroit News. Archived from the original on 13 March 2013. Retrieved 8 October 2012. 
  19. ^ "Gag Order Denied In Grant Case". clickondetroit. WDIV Detroit. March 12, 2007. Archived from the original on 28 March 2007. Retrieved 13 March 2007. 
  20. ^ Billups, Andrea; Steve Miller (2009). A Slaying in the Suburbs: The Tara Grant Murder. Berkley True Crime. Berkley. ISBN 978-0-425-22548-6. 
  21. ^ a b "Michigan wife killer's appeal fails". UPI.com. UPI. March 31, 2010. Retrieved 17 March 2012. 
  22. ^ L.L. Brasier (March 27, 2015). "Judge denies appeal by wife-murderer Stephen Grant". Detroit Free Press. 

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