On Oct. 8, a Pierce County Superior Court jury found Lakebay resident William Jason Grisso, 42, guilty of murder in the first degree.
Grisso was charged with first degree murder for causing the death of Nancy Gardner, his girlfriend, in an act of domestic violence while armed with a handgun on or about June 30, 2014.
The affidavit for determining probable cause states that Grisso had reported Gardner missing just after 6 p.m. on June 30, and that her gun was also missing.
The report states,“While officers were speaking with Grisso they observed what appeared to be blood on his left shoe. The shoes were collected as evidence.”DNA testing was done and results presented at trial.
The affidavit states, that “Officers observed two drops of suspected blood near the seat adjustment of defendant’s vehicle. Detectives located a pistol in the console of defendant’s vehicle. The serial number of the pistol matched the serial number of Gardner’s gun that was reported missing by Grisso.”
The affidavit also said forensic analysis of Gardner’s cell phone revealed three photos taken on June 30, 2014, during the time Grisso returned home but before he reported Gardner missing around 6 p.m.
“When they arrived at the location of the last of the photographs taken, they smelled the odor of a decomposing body. They located a female body near this location. The body displayed a necklace that detectives associated with Gardner,” the report said.
The body was found on July 9, 2014. Gardner had been shot twice in the head.
According to the affidavit, Grisso’s neighbors told officers they heard Grisso and Gardner arguing the day before Gardner went missing. They reported that Grisso was telling Gardner that she needed to get out of the house, but that Gardner refused to leave.
Grisso pled not guilty, claiming that his son 19-year-old son, Timothy Grisso, committed the crime. Grisso senior claimed his son had threatened to kill him some time in the past, or “to put his father in prison for the rest of his life,”according to a police report.
Grisso also claimed that Timothy borrowed his car the day Gardner was murdered. Grisso produced four letters that he claimed to have received from his son, wherein his son allegedly confessed to murdering Gardner.
A forensic scientist analyzed the handwritten letters and concluded that Grisso’s son probably did not write any of the letters, and also found “significant similarities between the defendant’s handwriting and two of the letters.”
Circumstantial evidence was presented at trial, including blood and DNA tests, ballistics tests, fingerprints from shell casings, Good-To-Go records for the Narrows Bridge, and records for cell phone locations and text messages.
The jury found Grisso as charged or premeditated murder
Grisso is being held without bail until his sentencing hearing on Nov. 2.
Deputy Prosecutor Jared Ausserer tried the case for the state.
“The standard sentencing range for such a crime is between 300 to 380 months, which includes the weapons enhancement,” Ausserer said. He will be requesting the 380-month maximum sentence.
Ausserer also said that several months ago. he offered Grisso 320 months in a plea bargain, but Grisso rejected that offer.
“We had a strong case, and investigation will continue as to who forged the letters,” he said.
Lance Hester, Grisso’s attorney, said, “My client insists that he did not commit the crime. The evidence is all circumstantial and insufficient, with no evidence of premeditation. We expect to appeal.”
An appeal would need to be filed within 30 days after the date of sentencing.
UNDERWRITTEN BY NEWSMATCH/MIAMI FOUNDATION, THE ANGEL GUILD, ROTARY CLUB OF GIG HARBOR, ADVERTISERS, DONORS AND PEOPLE WHO SUPPORT LOCAL, INDEPENDENT NONPROFIT NEWS