The Tracey Grissom Case

I have not blogged in quite a while, although admittedly I have some waiting to be written up and put together.  However, after watching 48 Hours from this past Saturday night I was compelled to research the case they discussed and bring it here. I always encourage participation but I do so particularly in this case.  As always I have my opinion of what I believe and undoubtedly there is always someone who has a different opinion. To some this case seems puzzling; to others there is no puzzle at all.  Some are left with questions while others feel all the pertinent questions are answered.  Just as with most cases there are two sides to every story and you have to determine the truth from within but you also have to have all the facts, and be sure that they are facts.  

As I stated, the episode of 48 Hours prompted this and as usual I found much more information than what was aired on the show. That information came from news articles and websites that told the "supposed" story. One has to also wonder if Tracey Grissom's trial and appeal for a new trial could have been timed a little better.  I say this because of the current rage about the movie based on the book, Gone Girl.  This is not to say that I believe this case to be just as that book, but I do have to say it opens your eyes to what people could do if they were determined and leave questions in your mind.  That aside, I also have to say that my obsession with true crime and noticing things also pushed me to take a side.

The first, and maybe the only thing, that is not in dispute is that on May 15, 2012 Tracey Grissom shot and killed her ex-husband, Hunter Grissom.  He was at a boat dock, the location of his latest construction site for his company Grissom Construction with at least two co-workers when Tracey pulled into the site and by the time it was over Hunter was dead. There is no question as to who shot him. Tracey's case itself, in my opinion at least, should have solely been based on just this incident. Hunter was working.  He was not stalking her; he was not at her house or her work.  Hunter in fact had a protective order against him preventing him from having contact with Tracey and by all accounts, at least at this moment, he was abiding by it.  It was Tracey who entered his work area.  By her own admittance she saw the work truck and she entered the lot.  There is an account that a fellow driver actually saw her drive past the area and make a U-turn to head back. Tracey also had a gun in her lap when she entered the lot. Supporters Of Tracey, when asked, have claimed that Tracey generally kept the gun, that she claims she got for protection against Hunter, in a leg holster and that she was headed to work, a place in which she could not carry her weapon. They claim that she generally removed the gun as she neared work and put it in her glove compartment but cannot explain why it was neither in the holster or in the glove compartment at that time.

Tracey claims that Hunter had stopped paying support for their child as well as had not paid debts that he was ordered to pay and that he had claimed that he was not working so when she saw the work truck she decided to take a picture so that apparently she could either presumably give to her lawyer or to the courts to prove differently. I want to state here that it seems that they were in court pertaining to support, or possibly still with divorce issues,but I could not find anything really that says he was behind, or if it was a significant amount as Tracey claims. Hunters lawyers claim that the court already knew that he was working and that he had submitted a log of jobs.  One can possibly assume that current and future jobs were listed in this log. Apparently Hunter would not have been hard to find considering that his jobs were basically all in the same general area in one way or another as they were along the nearby river.  Tracey then claims that she pulled into the lot and that Hunter saw her, that he smirked and gave her the finger and then headed towards her as if he was going to bust through her window and come after her. (Keep in mind that this account of what Tracey says that Hunter was doing was not told to the police or the 911 operator after the shooting and only to 48 Hours nearly 2 years later.) She then says that she opened her door and she remembers hearing the first shot but the next thing she remembers is hearing the click of the empty barrel.  She then calls 911 and reports that she's shot her ex husband.

Tracey's call was the second 911 call. The first came from one of the two co-workers of Hunters.  This witness claims that as soon as Hunter saw Tracey enter the lot he told the co-worker to call the police and that as he was retreating from the area of Tracey, she opened fire.

Pictures from the scene show Tracey's car parked behind the construction truck and an autopsy reportedly shows that of the four bullets that struck Hunter, 2 entered the back of his arm and two entered his back.

The first problem that I have this lies with where her vehicle was parked.  Her claims were that he was not paying support and when she saw the construction vehicle she wanted a picture to prove differently. She says this while proclaiming that Hunter had been physically abusive to her and she feared him.  In fact, she had the above mentioned protective order against him and he was out on bail awaiting trial for first degree rape, sodomy, domestic assault, and kidnapping stemming from an incident that Tracey claimed occurred in November 2010.  As a former single mother who tried to fight tooth and nail to attempt to get child support I could buy the first part.  However, I have a problem with her parking behind the truck when the pictures clearly show there was plenty of room beside the truck.  If this is her story and it was me, I would have made sure the doors to my car were lock, took the picture and got the hell out of dodge.  By parking behind the truck she clearly would have to exit her vehicle into an area in which it was almost certain Hunter would be in.  There are some accounts that she had actually been in the lot for up to 10 to 15 minutes simply watching.  I am uncertain of this fact unless she was sitting there unnoticed or it was not mentioned as the co-worker with Hunter indicated as if they saw her enter the area and that Hunter had instructed him to call the police and that he was retreating from Tracey.  I also still have a problem with the gun sitting in her lap, despite the reasons given by her supporters.

As I stated earlier, I truly think that the crime scene and the evidence from the witnesses, as well as the autopsy report should settle things. But we all know that it is never that easy and this case is even more complicated.

I guess to put it in order I will start with the demise of the marriage itself.  Of course Hunter is not here to give his accounts and we can only get his side through other people but quite honestly I found very little on his position.  Tracey claims that Hunter had a major drug problem.  He had previously been arrested for possession of marijuana once but nothing major and I found no reports from anyone or anything about any other drugs (except for Tracey) or any behavior issues involved with this.  Tracey claims that he was also a heroin user but there has never been any proof of this.  Then again, giving her the benefit of the doubt, we do not know what happens behind closed door. On the other hand, if it was a problem to the point in which she claims that it was it is unlikely that others did not notice. I also did not really find anything where this was a significant issue in their divorce.  I would think if his problem rose to the level in which she claims that she would have used this in the divorce for the safety of their young daughter, as well as her son whom Hunter was close to.  She claims that he never physically hit her until September of 2010 to which she filed for the divorce.  However, he still had access to the house and apparently she felt comfortable enough for him to babysit the children in the home while she was "out" as she claims she did in November 2010.

Then on November 23, 2010 Tracey alleges that Hunter raped her.  She says he bound her, held a gun to her, dragged her into the bedroom, raped her and then sometime after this time she had fallen and hit her head and became unconscious. By her own account she says she woke up and the first person that she calls is Hunter, telling him that she is hurt. She then either called 911 or went to the hospital (unsure if 911 was called). Once at the hospital she recounted her story. Medical reports state that there were no tears or injuries to her vagina area and it claims no internal injuries.  Pictures were also taken.  She had a small cut on her head that need one stitch.  In fairness, supporters of Tracey state that while at the hospital Hunter's mother arrived and that there was a confrontation as she told Tracey not to file a report and that she was arrested.  These supporters also claim that Hunter's mother was initially charged with "tampering of a witness" but that the charges were later dropped.  I am unclear on who exactly was at the hospital or who in fact was with the children at this point. 

Hunter was arrested two days later and charged with, among other things, first degree rape. His story of course differs from Tracey's. He claims that she had called him despondent and discussing suicide and that at some point, whether he was already there or not I do not know, she had taken a handful of prescription drugs and she had stumbled and hit her head, hence the cut.  Hunter also admits to having sex with her and claimed that it was "rough" but it's unclear if that was the "normal" for them. To add to this he says at some point that he left and that around 3 am he received a call from Tracey furious, asking him where he was and threatening to ruin his life if he did not come back to her house. In fairness, he apparently told consistent stories to the police and his lawyer. He made bail and was out on bond awaiting trial at the time of his death.

Now, to analyze this situation. Let's start with the problems I have with Hunter's story.  He admits to having sex with her, yet he also says that she had drugged herself and was hurt and yet he left the house. It's one thing for him to leave her but the children were in the house and I find this odd.  Why would he leave his children in the house with her if she was drugged and not acting right? 

Tracey's story is much more convoluted however.  First, let's start with the fact she says she was rendered unconscious.  Her statement was that she did not awake until approximately 5 am. She does admit that Hunter was her first call in which she states that he told her he hoped that she died.  She does not explain why she called him at all, let alone being the first call.  However, he was not her first call.  According to Hunter's lawyers they received her phone records and they indicate that she was never rendered unconscious and that her phone was used several times that night through text and picture messages.  There were a few sent to a current boyfriend and a few to family members.  Apparently none of these mentioned the alleged assault.  She also at some point apparently claimed her phone battery had died that night.  By her account she was out until 5, yet her call to Hunter was around 3. And, if her phone had died in the best case scenario she would have had to plug it in and talking on it while it was charging.  Yet,still even her own account does not completely add up, as well as the phone records, if his lawyer is telling the truth.  Tracey's response to those claims is that she was not the only one there, meaning Hunter and that while she was unconscious he could have used her phone.  This would be true but we still have the issue of the call to Hunter as well as none of the people that were text messaged seemed to see an issue.

Although the medical examination that night claims that there were no internal injuries Tracey continues to claim that there were and that she has had to have multiple reconstructive surgeries due to the rape.  Hunter's family claim that the surgeries, if she has had them were due to other medical issues Tracey had prior to and after (but not pertaining to) the alleged rape.  Pictures taken show no injuries but about two weeks later Tracey had a friend help her take new pictures that showed significant bruising to her thighs and stomach area. Granted bruises do not show up right away but I have two issues with this.  One, in the hospital pictures there is not even redness to indicate anything. For two, the pictures she took did not look like injuries that happened two weeks prior and those injuries look bad enough, even at the supposed two weeks that doctors would have seen or found something, even internally at the initial examination. At her sentencing hearing Tracey was wearing a colostomy bag and claimed that it was a result of the rape. Others claim that Tracey was on blood thinners prior to the alleged rape and that the bruising could have been self inflicted.  The people also claim that Tracey had multiple medical issues and that the colostomy bag she now wears has nothing to do with the alleged damaged from a rape but from her own medical issues.  It has been alleged that she got the colostomy bag sometime in 2014, nearly four years after the alleged rape.

Then we have an insurance issue.  Is there not always an insurance issue? This involved a $100,000 policy on Hunter.  Tracey called the insurance company the day before the shooting claiming to want to ensure they had her proper address.  She claims that she had to repeatedly move from her homes with her children in attempts to "run from Hunter." She had also claimed how she was having difficulty surviving... remember? According to her he is not paying support... as well as that Hunter had not followed through with the divorce agreement to remove her name from debt and she had been saddled with $200,000 with debt, yet she had kept up the insurance policy.  Tracey again called the insurance company two weeks after his death to inform them that he had "passed away." She never made a claim on the policy, however, I believe I know why.  She knew that if she was the person that caused his death she could not claim the policy and an agent from the company testified at her trial that if she was found guilty she would not be eligible. At the very end of her two day trial, before the jury was instructed the judge made an unusual request.  Tracey was claiming self defense and the prosecutors claimed it was first degree murder.  At that point the jury would have only had the option of first degree murder or not guilty.  The judge proclaimed he saw this as a manslaughter case and suggested to the parties to add that to the jury instruction.  The prosecutor agreed.  Tracey's attorney approached her and through their discussions she claims that her lawyer believed if given that option the jury would pick manslaughter and according to Tracey she did not want that so the defense rejected that being offered to the jury. 

Tracey was found guilty of first degree murder on August 7, 2014. Throughout the two day trial Tracey had testified to the alleged rape. She had gone into some detail and in fact stated he had "nearly beaten her to death." However, none of the pictures, not the hospital ones nor Tracey's, were shown to the jury.  After the trial one of the jury members began searching the case and found those pictures.  By the time she was sentenced that jury member came to the court and approached the media stating she felt the jury should have seen Tracey's pictures and that had they seen them at least she would have not voted to convict. Tracey could have received 40 years in prison... she was hoping for probation. I think she was given this hope due to the fact that the judge allowed her to remain out on bond awaiting sentencing. She received 25 years.  

Since her sentencing Tracey and her attorney's have attempted to get a new trial based on the fact that she claims the rape was not allowed to be entered into the record.  This is not completely true.  She discussed the rape, it was brought out Hunter was facing charges.  However, the only thing dis-allowed were the pictures and her motion was denied on October 14, 2014. 

I believe this sentence and verdict was just.  First, as I have said a few times, I believe the only real evidence should have come from the crime scene, the witnesses and the autopsy information.  Do I believe she was raped? That is a very, very tough one for me.  I am not sure I do. But, in my opinion that should not matter.  Now, had Hunter gone to her home; had Hunter gone to her work or gone to where she was and she shot him, I may have felt completely different about this story. 

I have major problems with this and especially Tracey's story. She says she filed for divorce after he hit her in September 2010 because of that and because of drugs. Yet by the time of the alleged rape in November 2010 she was the one who had a boyfriend. Hunter's family alleges that a few weeks before his death Tracey had again showed up at his work and had found out that he now had a new girlfriend and had made threats.  Again, the alleged rape occurred in November 2010 to which she got a restraining order (after telling Hunter on the phone she would ruin his life and he would not see his child) and the murder occurred May 15, 2012, a full year and a half later. In her initial interview with police and with 911 she never claims he was coming towards her car and the autopsy shows he was shot not only in the back, but at a distance of about 12 feet.  I just simply have a huge problem with a woman who claims to be afraid of someone to the point they have a gun in their lap... yet she says she saw his work vehicle and entered the lot (or turned around and went back if you believe the other witness)... parked behind the vehicle, knowing he had to be outside and nearby as that was his job, to supposedly take a picture.  First, why make it where you would have to exit your vehicle and secondly, what was the picture going to prove? The vehicle itself did not prove he was working it just proved the vehicle ran. Thirdly, if we believe his lawyer, the courts had already proven that he was working and he had submitted work records so the picture was not needed anyway. I simply do not think she believed the co-workers would be there and that her 'self-defense' story would stick.  It does not matter, in my opinion, if they were there or not.  I think the autopsy itself says all we need to know.

I am anxious to hear from others who have heard about this story and what their opinions are.  For me it was simple, for others, not so much.  

UPDATE:  On July 8, 2015 the Alabama Criminal Court of Appeals upheld Tracey Grissom's conviction and sentence.

Comments

  1. Susan,

    I have a couple of things to say:

    1. Hunter allegedly raped, sodomized, and assaulted her. A protection order was in place. Why did she pull up where he had the legal right to be, and violate her "own" protection order?

    2. If she was so scared of him, why didn't she just keep going? If he was such a beast and a drug user and a rapist, I wouldn't want to be anywhere near him.

    3. Did she think that the protection order was just for him to stay away from her?

    Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Those are all excellent questions that will likely never be answered. I found her actions and explanations questionable to say the least

      Delete
    2. Where did u find this evidence? Was all of this on the show?

      Delete
  2. Just watched her story on Deadly Women. She was obviously the stalker, and a very conniving and manipulative woman. The doctors and nurses found nothing to substantiate her rape claims. Even the cut on her forehead required only one stitch. I think she was extremely bitter bc she had just told him she wanted him back. When he gave into her advances, she probably felt like she might get him back. I'm sure she felt rejected after he went home following what was basically a "quickie." She was likely livid that he didn't even stay the night, and felt like a fool. I have a feeling she may have cried and/or begged him to stay over. He possibly even told her that he didn't want to back with her and that the sex was a mistake. Of course, those are just my own assumptions. But I believe something was said or done that really got her seething and bent on revenge. Why else would she think up such evil and untrue rape allegations about him? That takes one really angry and vindictive woman to do a thing like that. I believe she was extremely jealous, and she was the one who stalked him. I think 25 years is too light, and 40 would have been more fitting as we all know she'll likely be released after 12 to 14 years. But, then again, even ten years in prison is pretty bad for a woman like her.

    I love true crime - so I'll be perusing your blog regularly!

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Matthew Heikkila

The Quinn Hanna Gray Kidnapping

Patricia Rorrer