Lonely Sophomore Kills Best Friend, Blames Crime on Cult

How far would an unpopular high school student go to try to fit in?

ByABC News
August 17, 2009, 2:56 PM

Aug. 18, 2009— -- How far could an innocent high school student go to try to fit in? In a bizarre case in Colorado, the answer appears to be all the way to murder.

Isaac Grimes is serving a 60-year sentence for killing his onetime best friend Tony Dutcher when he was only 15. Grimes pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, but the most shocking part was his explanation of why he did it. According to him, it amounted to a twisted version of the children's game Simon Says.

It all began in the fall of 1999, when Grimes entered his freshman year at Palmer High School in Colorado Springs, Colo. He was a lonely boy, who admits he was not popular.

"I wasn't a people person," he said.

His parents, Rob and Donna Grimes agree.

"It was like he was set apart, and he didn't relate as much to kids his own age. He read. Read lots and lots," said Donna.

But early in that fateful year, he crossed paths with a charismatic high school senior named Simon Sue. The unlikely pair shared an interest in chess and video games, and with that, the upperclassman took the younger, nerdy boy under his wing.

Grimes said Sue even offered him a chance to join his club called the O.A.R.A., or the Operations and Reconnaissance Agents. It would be the turning point of Isaac's life. For a young boy, desperate to have connections with others, hanging out with Sue and being invited to join the O.A.R.A was everything he desired -- at first.

"It was a lot of compliments -- a lot of self-esteem building material. Like you're one of us -- you're cool. You're part of the group," he told "Primetime".

Grimes said he finally felt like he was part of a "band of brothers." Sue reassured him that the group of boys, which included fellow high schoolers Jon Matheny and Glen Urban, would look out for one another.

As much as they wanted their son to have friends, Grimes' parents were skeptical of the relationship.

"One time I had said, 'you know, Simon's a senior -- why is he hanging out with you?' And he said because 'I'm smart,'" recalled Donna, who is convinced Sue preyed upon her son's vulnerability. "It's a shark in the water thing, they smell blood, and I think Simon smelled blood."

She couldn't have imagined that her worst fears — and then some — would soon be realized.