Trial under way for man in son’s death

It’s not under dispute that Allen Grabe shot and killed his 13-year-old son, Jacob Grabe, at his family’s Pear Park home the night of Sept. 11, 2008.

What jurors in the trial of Allen Grabe will have to determine is whether the 53-year-old man was sane during the incident and whether he was capable of knowing right from wrong.

“Allen’s mind was engulfed in an unreal reality,” public defender Ryan Esplin argued during opening statements Tuesday afternoon.

A trial for Allen Grabe, who pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to the murder charge, is slated to run through April 9.

Attorneys on both sides Tuesday talked about the evidence jurors are expected to hear. That includes testimony from three doctors who evaluated Allen Grabe to determine whether he was sane. Allen Grabe was once pronounced sane and twice pronounced insane in three separate evaluations spaced months apart by three different doctors, Esplin said.

Esplin further said that although Allen Grabe did not have history of mental illness, “People wondered.”

Deputy District Attorney Jason Conley argued that Allen Grabe was frustrated by the way his wife, Jaquette, treated their son.

Jacob, an eighth-grader at Grand Mesa Middle School, was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, a neurological disorder similar to autism.

“The defendant hated the way Jaquette Grabe treated his son,” Conley said. “He thought that she should just let Jacob be normal. He failed to appreciate that Jacob was different. He did not have an emotional connection to Jacob. By killing Jacob, Allen’s life would be better.”

Conley added Allen Grabe was under financial stress, and during the day leading up to the shooting, Grabe contacted a mental health professional by phone at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Grand Junction. Allen Grabe wondered whether he had post traumatic stress disorder, Conley said, and at the call’s end, Grabe reported feeling calmer and less stressed.

Testimony is expected to begin at 10 a.m. today.


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