Grabe gets life in prison for son’s murder

Allen Grabe

A Mesa County jury Wednesday said Allen Grabe was legally sane when he shot his 13-year-old son nine times in September 2008, rejecting Grabe’s defense of insanity.

Grabe, 53, sat expressionless as District Judge Brian Flynn sentenced him to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

He did not speak to the judge before hearing the mandatory sentence, and Grabe’s wife, Jaquette, also declined to speak.

Word of a verdict from the seven-woman, five-man jury spread around 9:50 a.m., roughly 20 minutes after they assembled for the day at the Mesa County Justice Center. The jury received the case around 3:30 p.m. Tuesday and broke for the day at 5 p.m.

Grabe was convicted of first-degree murder and child abuse resulting in the death of his son, Jacob, who at the time was a special-needs student at Grand Mesa Middle School being treated for Asperger’s syndrome, a neurological disorder similar to autism.

Jaquette Grabe sobbed quietly after the verdicts were read and was escorted arm-in-arm by several friends and family from the courtroom.

Allen Grabe pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, and his attorneys offered testimony from a pair of doctors who diagnosed Grabe as having suffered a brief, stress-induced, psychotic episode on the night of Sept. 11, 2008.

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

Prosecutors argued Grabe’s own admissions to doctors showed he understood the difference between right and wrong — inability to make such a distinction is a key element for a successful insanity defense under Colorado law — and chose to kill his son anyway.

Steve Colvin, one of Grabe’s public defenders, said an appeal will be filed.

According to Colorado state judicial records, a Mesa County jury hasn’t returned a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity, in any criminal matter, since at least 2005.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Dan Rubinstein, the lead prosecutor in Grabe’s case, said he couldn’t recall such a verdict locally since at least 1996.


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