Grabe’s fate in jury’s hands

The “why” in the slaying of 13-year-old Jacob Grabe isn’t important in deciding whether his killer was legally insane at the time, a prosecutor told jurors Tuesday.

The defense, meanwhile, argued the “why” was Allen Grabe’s mental illness and that it absolutely matters in the murder trial of Allen Grabe because it is the only motive that makes sense.

“We’ll never know why he did it, and it doesn’t matter,” Chief Deputy District Attorney Dan Rubinstein said during closing statements Tuesday.

The prosecutor conceded that Allen Grabe, 53, may have been having delusions and been suffering from a mental-health disorder on the night of Sept. 11, 2008, when the Pear Park father walked into his son’s bedroom and fired 10 shots, hitting the boy nine times.

“Does this change the fact he knew this was against societal standards of morality?” Rubinstein asked.

The prosecutor said Grabe loaded his .22-caliber revolver, despite telling a doctor months later that Jesus had urged him not to kill his son, and shot his son four times in the head. Grabe explained to his wife she was “ruining” their son,  returned to his master bedroom so he could reload his gun, and walked back to his son’s room and fired another six rounds, Rubinstein said.

“That is an extremely thought out, deliberate act,” he said.

The jury in Grabe’s murder trial started deliberations Tuesday afternoon after hearing nearly two hours of closing arguments. Grabe has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity in the slaying of his son.

Ryan Esplin, one of Grabe’s public defenders, argued “the illness took over” in Grabe’s life, pointing to the findings of two doctors who concluded Grabe had suffered a brief, psychotic episode.

“A sane person would have known that four shots to a child’s head would have killed him,” Esplin said. “But he had to shoot again.”

Richard Astafan, a psychiatrist with the Colorado Mental Health Institute in Pueblo, was among the two doctors who found Grabe to be insane. Astafan works for the state and was not paid by the defense to evaluate Grabe’s mental health.

“I believe that his intent was to save his son from irreparable harm, saving him by sending him home to Jesus,” Astafan said.

Astafan said it “didn’t make any sense to him” that Grabe did not have a history of being violent and no history of abuse toward Jacob.

“I would say that if Mr. Grabe is a deeply religious person, and he is, and hears God tell him not to do it and he does it anyway, he must be insane,” Astafan testified.

Upon cross-examination by Rubinstein, Astafan said he was aware that Grabe deliberated before killing his son. According to the legal definition of first-degree murder, the act must be done after deliberation.

“To say Mr. Grabe decided to kill his son is a very simplistic way of looking at it,” Astafan said.

The jury is expected to resume deliberations this morning.

Sentinel reporter Amy Hamilton contributed to this story.


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