Tonawanda News

NT

February 21, 2013

Grover takes kidnapping plea

Tonawanda man took 5-year-old from her NT home, abused her

(Continued)

Tonawanda News — Grover initially pleaded not guilty in August to three charges related to the incident: first-degree sexual assault, second-degree kidnapping and committing a sexually motivated felony.

But Thursday, with the help of his lawyer, David Douglas, he chose not to proceed with the trial scheduled to begin March 18. 

Grover's decision came directly after prosecutors sought the right to inform a jury of Grover's two previous convictions, the latter of which bears some startling similarities to this case.

In 2004, he was convicted of an attempted burglary in the Town of Niagara, Zucco said. 

"A male testified in that case that he saw the defendant totally nude in the apartment hallway, and that he was touching his penis with his hand," Zucco said. 

Grover told police following the incident he needed money for cocaine and took off his pants because they were baggy and were making too much noise, startling the residents of the apartments. 

Zucco also sought to introduce evidence from Grover's previous kidnapping conviction in 2007 when he took a different 4-year-old girl from her North Tonawanda home, prompting police to issue an Amber Alert. As with the present allegations, Grover was friends with the child's mother, giving him access to the child.

That young girl was returned to her home without any allegations of sexual abuse, police speculated because Grover almost immediately knew he was the subject of a manhunt. He again laid his actions to a cocaine addiction.

"This type of evidence could help the jury determine if his conduct — taking the girl away from her home — was done for sexual gratification," Zucco said. 

In response to Zucco, Douglas argued that introducing the evidence from the past convictions would effectively end the trial before it even began.

"It would be like an atomic bomb being dropped upon us," Douglas said. "And once it's dropped, most jurors are going to think, 'that's the end of it, I don't have to think about this anymore.' "

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