More than 3,200,000 pageviews from 150 countries


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Gregory Graf Murder Case

     Jessica Padgett, a 33-year-old mother of three, was last seen at 12:45 in the afternoon of Friday November 21, 2014 by fellow employees at the Duck Duck Goose Daycare Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Surveillance camera footage revealed that 15 minutes after she left the the center, her car was returned to the daycare parking lot by a man whose face was not caught on camera.

     Police and volunteers in the eastern Pennsylvania community searched several days without finding a trace of the missing woman. Investigators feared foul play.

     On Wednesday November 26, five days after Padgett went missing, police officers executing a search warrant in and around the house in Allen Township where her mother and stepfather resided, found her remains buried behind a shed on the 7-acre plot of land.

     On the day of the body recovery, police officers took the victim's stepfather, 53-year-old Gregory R. Graf, into custody on suspicion of murder. At the time Jessica Padgett went missing her mother was in Florida.

     Graf, a dedicated hunter who grew marijuana on his property, owned a local fencing company. Under police questioning, he initially denied any knowledge of his stepdaughter's disappearance and murder. He said he had no idea how her body ended up in the ground on his property. But when detectives pressed Graf with inconsistencies in his story and confronted him with physical evidence that linked him to the disappearance and murder, he broke down and confessed.

     Graf admitted shooting Padgett in the back of the head shortly after she left the daycare center that day. He was vague, however, regarding his motive. Investigators believed Graf had raped the victim before he killed her. As it turned out, detectives had the order of these acts reversed.

     Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli charged Gregory Graf with first-degree murder. The judge denied the suspect bail.

     On December 5, 2014, a search of Graf's computer revealed a video of the suspect having sex with his stepdaughter's corpse. This act of necrophilia on the remains of a woman he had murdered for that purpose made Graf, under Pennsylvania law, eligible for the death penalty.

     Following the discovery of the postmortem sex video the prosecutor added the charge of abuse of corpse.

     At his arraignment, Graf asked the judge to appoint him a free defense attorney. The defendant said he didn't want to take resources from his family to pay for a lawyer. The judge denied this request on the grounds the suspect had enough money to pay for his own attorney.

     On November 13, 2015, following Graf's four-day trial, the jury found him guilty of first-degree murder. In arriving at this verdict, jurors deliberated less than ten minutes. The conviction brought a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of parole.

     Graf's attorney, in his closing argument, had told jurors that while his client was guilty of third-degree murder and deserved to be punished, the killing hadn't been premeditated. According to the defense attorney, "Something snapped." The jury obviously didn't buy this line of defense. They wanted this sexually perverted killer to spend the rest of his life in prison.

     

No comments:

Post a Comment