I seldom agree with anything cops say. But I agree with this cop 100 percent!
April 08, 2009
Conviction based on feelings is wrong
Apr. 8, 2009 12:00 AM
I have been in law enforcement for 24 years and have stood by the American system of trial by jury each and every day. But I read in The Republic, "Jury in Grant case speaks out" (April 1) in which Douglas Grant was convicted of murdering his wife, based not on evidence or proof of the crime, but based on what jurors felt. One juror said, "We thought he was pretty much a scuzzbag. Just a gut feeling; nothing was proven."
Another juror said he was not a "good person" and was "dishonest" and "manipulative."
There was never proof of his involvement in murdering his wife; the only damaging evidence was that he called a doctor friend for help instead of 911.
This story has left me scared and ashamed. Scared that if I am ever in the wrong place at the wrong time, maybe I could be convicted because I may not be a "good guy." Ashamed that the system I protect, failed this person's rights and freedom.
And, where are the protesters, protecting this American from a miscarriage of justice, because of who he is, not what he did.
Here is the article reporting the guys conviction
Jury finds aggravating factors in wife's drowning death
by Michael Kiefer - Apr. 1, 2009 05:00 AM
The Arizona Republic
On March 24, Douglas Grant was found guilty of manslaughter in the 2001 drowning death of his wife Faylene.
On Tuesday, the same Maricopa County Superior Court jury that convicted him determined that there were aggravating factors that could compel the judge to sentence Grant to as many as 12½ years in prison.
Then they were free for the first time to talk about the case they've pondered since it began in November.
Juries are supposed to find guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Why did they find Grant guilty? The answer was shocking.
“We thought he was pretty much a scuzzbag,” said juror Matt Percifield of Chandler. “Just a gut feeling; nothing was proven.”
Juror Pam Somerville of Surprise echoed his sentiment. Grant, she said, was “dishonest” and “manipulative.”
“He's not a good person,” she said.
How they got from their dislike of Grant to finding him guilty of killing his wife was less clear.
Percifield said that they based much of their decision on the fact that when Faylene Grant lay lifeless after being pulled from the bathtub of their Gilbert home on Sept. 27, 2001, Grant did not call 911. Instead, he called a friend who is a physician's assistant, who rushed over to Grant's house and performed CPR.
Faylene later died in the hospital.
“I don't know how a grown woman can drown in a bath tub,” Somerville said.
Faylene was a devout member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and wrote copious journal entries and letters detailing her religious visions of an impending death.
Doug was a prominent sports dietician who had been excommunicated from the LDS church for adultery.
The two had married and divorced and then married again months before Faylene's death, in part to put their spiritual lives in order.
In some of her writings, Faylene suggested Doug marry Hilary DeWitt, whom he had dated while they were divorced. In fact, he did marry her after Faylene died.
According to her visions, Faylene was supposed to die on Sept. 24, 2001. She and Grant were in Utah that day, and Faylene slipped from a cliff and fell 60 feet. Her fall was broken by trees, however, and her injuries amounted to scrapes and bruises. Back in Gilbert, the physician's assistant later prescribed pain medications and a sleep aid.
Days later, on the morning of her death, according to the defense, Grant awoke because Faylene was going to take a bath. Grant fell back asleep. When he awoke to check on her, he claimed, she was unconscious in the tub.
But prosecutor Juan Martinez theorized that Grant drugged Faylene and held her under water.
The jury on Tuesday said that Martinez “knew what he was doing.”
And they discounted much of the defense's argument: the changing stories of Faylene's daughter, for example, and whether she fell from the cliff in Utah.
Faylene's writings, one juror said, “gave us an understanding of what she was going through,” but that Grant played on those visions, as another said.
Juror Rita Crawford, of Glendale, thought that Hilary did not show appropriate emotion through the last days of the trial.
“If that were my husband, I would have been dropping and begging,” she said.
Grant was originally charged with first-degree murder. And rather than start there and argue down to a lesser charge, Somerville said they first voted simply on whether Grant was guilty or innocent. And once they determined that he was guilty, then they argued which charge to find him guilty of.
They settled on manslaughter, which carries a mandatory sentence of three to 12½ years in prison. With Tuesday's finding of three aggravating factors — specifically that the murder was committed in a cruel fashion, for monetary gain, and that it caused emotional harm to the survivors — Judge Margaret Mahoney can move toward the harsher end of the range when she sentences Grant on May 1.
Somerville said that the “love triangle” among Doug, Faylene and Hilary played into her decision. She wanted to find Grant guilty of first-degree murder. The law says that if jurors cannot agree, they must move to a lower level of murder.
“They didn't try it as a murder, they tried it as a guy who committed adultery,” defense attorney Mel McDonald said.
McDonald said that the verdict will be appealed.
A spokesman for the County Attorney's office would only say, “We respect the jury's verdict and we will seek an appropriate sentence.”
But the family members on both sides of the aisle left the courthouse in tears, exhausted from the lengthy acrimonious trial.
The fatigue showed on the face of Shan Stratton, Faylene's brother-in-law, as he spoke to the media.
“The jury made a decision, and that's all we ever wanted,” he said. “Our prayers go out to everybody affected by this case.”
His wife Jody, Faylene's sister, added, “we can go on and live without this in the middle of it.”
Hilary Grant, on the other hand, said, “the verdict is extraordinarily difficult to hear, knowing my husband is innocent. What's even worse is having to come home and tell the children. All I can tell you is I love my husband very much. I know he's innocent, and I think our fight is only beginning.”