TACOMA, WA – Today Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist delivered opening statement in the trial of William Grisso, 42, who is charged with the 2014 shooting death of his fiancé, Nancy Gardner, 45, whom he had reported missing. Gardner’s cell phone led detectives to her body in Belfair.
“On the day of the murder, the defendant had a wife, a fiancé and a girlfriend,” Lindquist began. “He was separated from his wife, he was tired of his fiancé, and he wanted to be with his girlfriend.”
According to Lindquist, the defendant’s complicated love life was simplified when he had his wife served with divorce papers and killed his fiancé – on the same day.
“This may not sound like a good plan to us,” Lindquist said, “but that’s what the evidence will show.”
According to today’s testimony from officers, Grisso called police on June 30, 2014, and reported Gardner missing. Grisso said he saw Gardner that morning, but when he returned home from running errands, she was gone. Gardner’s keys, phone and wallet were still in the home. Grisso told the officers the only item missing from the home was Gardner’s handgun.
As the officers spoke with Grisso, they noticed he had blood stains on his shoes. He claimed the blood was from kicking a cat. Officers collected the shoes, and a forensics expert is expected to testify that the blood on Grisso’s shoes was Gardner’s.
A detective testified that in Grisso’s girlfriend’s residence, he located the pistol that Grisso said Gardner had taken with her when she went missing.
Information gathered from the victim’s and defendant’s cell phones is critical to the case. Later this week, a sheriff’s detective is expected to testify that a forensic analysis of Gardner’s cell phone revealed three photos of flowers that were taken the day she went missing. Data from the photos provided detectives with the coordinates where they were taken. Detectives traveled to that location and discovered Gardner’s body. The defendant’s phone showed that he called his girlfriend shortly after the murder.
Grisso’s neighbors are expected to testify that they heard Grisso and his fiancée Gardner arguing the day Gardner went missing. Grisso told Gardner to get out of the house, but Gardner refused to leave.
Charges are only allegations and a person is presumed innocent unless he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Communications and Public Information Coordinator
Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office