Ex-pastor appealing manslaughter conviction in wife's death
Former pastor Philip Grandine, convicted of manslaughter in the drowning death of his then pregnant 29-year-old wife Karissa, will appeal the jury’s verdict and his “harsh” 15-year sentence Thursday before the Ontario Court of Appeal.
The cheating, porn-addicted preacher didn’t even bother to pull the bathtub plug to drain the water that covered the drowned body of his pregnant wife.
There was that and so much more. With all the overwhelming evidence against Philip Grandine, it was shocking that the former pastor was convicted only of manslaughter when everyone assumed he would surely go down for murder.
But he still wants more. Free on bail for the last two years, he will appeal the jury’s verdict and his “harsh” 15-year sentence Thursday before the Ontario Court of Appeal, dragging his dead wife’s family through yet more trauma and pain.
Shame on him.
We heard at the trial his trusting 29-year-old wife Karissa, thrilled about being five weeks pregnant with their first child, was a saint. Despite the shame and humiliation he’d caused for her in their church community, she had forgiven his affair with a woman who was a fellow parishioner, she tried to mend their broken marriage with marital counselling and had an Internet filter installed to curb his trolling for porn. Grandine agreed to it at all.
Behind her back, he continued his torrid affair and instead of pornography and tosluts.com, the searches on his computer were “would 100 mg. of ativan be fatal?” and “will you die from 100 mg of lorazepam tabs?”
The Crown theory was that Grandine blamed his wife for his embarrassing downfall - he had to resign from their church after the affair was discovered - and he wanted out of their marriage so he could be with his mistress. He drugged her twice — the trial run was a smoothie he prepared for her that sent Karissa to hospital for an overnight stay. The second, three days later, would prove fatal.
On Oct. 17, 2011, in what Justice Robert Clark described as “nothing more than an elaborate charade,” a tearful Grandine told a 911 operator that he’d just returned from a run to discover his wife submerged and not breathing in their bathtub. Despite being a registered practical nurse, he’d made no effort to resuscitate her or pull her out of the water.
An autopsy showed a high concentration of lorazepam, a drug she’d never been prescribed. When they went back to test her blood taken when she went to St. Michael’s Hospital several days earlier, they found the same sedative.
Police investigators also discovered that 33 minutes before calling 911, while Grandine was supposedly out running, the porn filter on his computer had been disabled.
How broken up was this scoundrel about the death of his wife and unborn daughter? His mistress, when she wasn’t stealing furtive glances at her former lover, testified that just a few days after his emotional 911 call, she and Grandine were having sex in his car.
In a factum filed with the appeal court, Grandine is asking for an acquittal or a new trial. If not, he believes his sentence should at least be reduced to an “appropriate” term of between 18 months and four years.
When for some of us, 15 years is far too little for the soulless killer.
His major issue on appeal is how the judge answered a question posed by the jury during their deliberations in December 2014: “Is knowledge of Karissa Grandine taking a bath and not stopping her, equivalent to causing her to get into the tub (knowing she is under the influence of lorazepam)?”
His lawyers argue Clark’s reply “misdirected” the jury by introducing a new theory when he told them they could find Grandine guilty of failing to provide the necessities of life by not fulfilling his legal duty to protect his wife from harm.
In their court filing, the Crown insists there was no legal error: “The simple answer was yes. As a matter of law, the jury could find (Grandine) guilty of manslaughter (at a minimum) if they were satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that he drugged his wife and then knowingly allowed her to take a bath in his absence.”
An appeal court will now hear both sides. Could this really be enough to set Grandine free? And one more question - when Grandine attends the hearing, as surely he’ll want to do, will his mistress be by his side?
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