Jailed Husband: 'I Just Kept Cutting Her'

ByBARBARA PINTO

April 13, 2007 — -- From a hospital bed, a frostbitten Stephen Grant talked to police for hours -- recounting the grisly details of wife Tara's brutal murder.

According to police reports and documents released today, Grant told investigators how he strangled his wife, dismembered her body and then scattered her remains in the woods.

In transcripts of what police say was a two-hour confession, Grant said a fight over his wife's frequent travel for work sparked the deadly argument. When Tara started to walk away, Grant said he grabbed her wrist and she slapped him. Grant allegedly hit her back, knocking his wife to the floor and then choking her with a piece of clothing.

"She finally grabbed my hand at one point, but it was too late then and I couldn't stop," he said, according to the police report. "I knew I was going to prison. I panicked."

The brutal struggle allegedly took place while the couple's 4-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter slept in bedrooms nearby.

After Tara Grant stopped breathing, her husband said he tied a belt around her neck and used it to drag her body down the stairs and into the garage. The belt eventually broke, slamming Tara's head against the concrete floor. Grant told police it sounded like "dropping a watermelon on the cement." He managed to put her body into the back of an SUV.

Two days later, Grant drove the body to his father's tool and die shop, where he says he dismembered it with a hacksaw blade. He said he was drinking whiskey, and got so distraught he threw up.

According to the documents, Grant said, "I just told myself, 'Look, if you don't do this, you're going to prison for the rest of your life.' And I just kept cutting her."

Grant says he used his children's red plastic sled to carry his wife's remains into the woods, where he scattered them and buried her torso in the snow.

Days later, when police announced they would search that wooded area, Grant says he retrieved the torso and stored it in a plastic container in his garage. Investigators eventually found it there, leading to Grant's arrest.

He was captured in a wilderness area near Michigan's Upper Peninsula, suffering from frostbite and hypothermia. Grant says he had taken prescription drugs in a suicide attempt, and had run into the woods.

In his alleged confession, Grant also claims he had a physical relationship with the 19-year-old nanny he and his wife had hired to care for their children. The nanny has since returned to Germany.

The graphic account is part of 250 pages of documents released as the result of Freedom of Information Act requests. Grant's attorneys had fought to keep the information private.

"This is a huge problem for the defense," said criminal defense attorney Mitch Ribitwer.

Ribitwer said the defense will likely try to have the confession suppressed, given Grant's physical state and his admission that he had taken prescription drugs. The publicity may also make it difficult to find an unbiased jury.

"Once the bell's been rung, how do you un-ring it?" he said.

Stephen Grant reported his wife's disappearance to police on Valentine's Day -- five days after she was last seen. He told police his wife had left on a business trip to Puerto Rico. For weeks, Grant played the part of worried husband and father, proclaiming his innocence and giving teary interviews to reporters.

Before his wife's death, Stephen Grant had little contact with police other than a 1989 arrest for carrying a concealed weapon and reckless driving. Grant paid a $500 fine on reduced charges and served no jail time.

Now, Grant faces charges of murder and mutilation of a corpse. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 15.

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