WASHINGTON TWP. (WWJ) – A local attorney is looking back at arguably one of the most heinous crimes ever committed in Macomb County, ten years ago today.
Stephen Grant of Washington Township was found guilty of strangling his wife during an argument, cutting her body in pieces, storing them in plastic containers, and scattering them at Stony Creek Metropark.
The store made headlines as Tara Grant, a successful business woman, was missing for several weeks before investigators found her severed torso in the couple’s garage.
Attorney Stephen Rabaut — who represented Grant at trial, with co-counsel Gail Pamukov — says it was a difficult case, very challenging, with a lot of “great legal issues.”
“The deck was stacked against us as far as going into a trial in that matter because of Mr. Grant’s statements to law enforcement,” Rabaut said, “as well as the gruesome details that the evidence established through the homicide as well as he later activities of Mr. Grant.”
Grant, who was 37 years old at the time, confessed to detectives in graphic detail after he was captured on the run in northern Michigan.
How was Grant as a client?
“He communicated well with us. He explained details and circumstances and he was very engaged with us throughout the whole process,” Rabaut told WWJ’s Charlie Langton.”…I think he regretted his activity.”
Prosecutors wanted a first degree murder conviction, but jurors came back with second-degree.
Rabaut said that surprised both Pamukov and himself, although he thought the jury got it right.
“I don’t think this was a premeditated act whatsoever,” Rabaut said. “I think he showed appropriate remorse. I don’t think that his plan was to murder his wife. I think the just lost it for that moment.”
Although Grant received a lengthy sentence, Rabaut was pleased with the result.
“We argued to the jury it should probably be manslaughter, but we knew that we were taking a big step asking for that,” he added.
“But we just thought that between Mr. Grant’s statements, his confession to law enforcement as well as the gruesome details, it would be hard to get an attorney to consider a charge lesser than first degree murder; and we felt very good that we accomplished that.”
Grant was sentenced to 50 to 80 years in prison. He will be eligible for parole in 40 years.