Saturday, August 23, 2014
My Account  | Login
Nashua;73.0;http://forecast.weather.gov/images/wtf/small/bkn.png;2014-08-23 14:47:21

ERROR: Video is no longer available.

pic1
pic2
pic3
pic4
pic5
pic6
pic7
pic8
pic9
pic10
pic11
pic12
pic13
pic14
pic15
  • Staff photo by Don Himsel


    Christopher Gribble is led to prison from Hillsborough County Superior Court in Nashua, New Hampshire Friday, March 25, , 2011. (AP Photo/POOL/Don Himsel)
  • Staff photo by Don Himsel


    Christopher Gribble in Hillsborough County Superior Court in Nashua, New Hampshire Friday, March 25, 2011. (AP Photo/POOL/Don Himsel)
  • Staff photo by Don Himsel


    Christopher Gribble sits at the defense table in Hillsborough County Superior Court in Nashua, New Hampshire Friday, March 25, 2011. (AP Photo/POOL/Don Himsel)
  • Staff photo by Don Himsel


    Christopher Gribble stands with his attorneys to receive his sentences in Hillsborough County Superior Court in Nashua, New Hampshire Friday, March 25, 2011. (AP Photo/POOL/Don Himsel)
  • Staff photo by Don Himsel


    Christopher Gribble sits at the defense table in Hillsborough County Superior Court in Nashua, New Hampshire Friday, March 25, 2011. (AP Photo/POOL/Don Himsel)
  • Staff photo by Don Himsel


    Christopher Gribble in handcuffs after his verdict was presented in Hillsborough County Superior Court in Nashua, New Hampshire Friday, March 25, 2011. (AP Photo/POOL/Don Himsel)
  • Staff photo by Don Himsel


    Christopher Gribble in Hillsborough County Superior Court in Nashua, New Hampshire Friday, March 25, 2011. (AP Photo/POOL/Don Himsel)
  • Staff photo by Don Himsel


    David Cates hugs prosecutor Lucy Carrillo in Hillsborough County Superior Court in Nashua, New Hampshire Friday, March 25, 2011, after Christopher Gribble's verdict and sentencing was presented. (AP Photo/POOL/Don Himsel)
  • Staff photo by Don Himsel


    Jaimie Cates arrives in Hillsborough County Superior Court in Nashua, New Hampshire Friday, March 25, 2011. (AP Photo/POOL/Don Himsel)
  • Staff photo by Don Himsel


    David Cates speaks after the verdict was delivered to Christoher Gribble in Hillsborough County Superior Court in Nashua, New Hampshire Friday, March 25, , 2011. (AP Photo/POOL/Don Himsel)
  • Staff photo by Don Himsel


    Christopher Gribble is led to prison from Hillsborough County Superior Court in Nashua, New Hampshire Friday, March 25, , 2011. (AP Photo/POOL/Don Himsel)
  • Staff photo by Don Himsel


    Christopher Gribble is led to prison from Hillsborough County Superior Court in Nashua, New Hampshire Friday, March 25, , 2011. (AP Photo/POOL/Don Himsel)
  • Staff photo by Don Himsel


    Christopher Gribble is led to prison from Hillsborough County Superior Court in Nashua, New Hampshire Friday, March 25, , 2011. (AP Photo/POOL/Don Himsel)
  • Staff photo by Don Himsel


    Jaimie and her father David Cates sit in Hillsborough County Superior Court in Nashua Friday, March 25 2011 after Christopher Gribble's sentencing. (AP Photo/POOL/Don Himsel
  • Staff photo by Don Himsel


    Jaimie Cates is escorted from the courtroom after Christopher Gribble's sentencing Friday, March 25 2011.
Saturday, March 26, 2011

Gribble found guilty, sentenced to life in prison

NASHUA – The jury didn’t buy Christopher Gribble’s excuses.

They decided he chose to supply the knife and machete used in the attack against Kimberly Cates and her daughter, Jaimie.

He was thinking quite clearly when he cut the electricity to 4 Trow Road before the murder inside.

And he knew exactly what he was doing when he slit the throat of Kimberly Cates and left her 11-year-old daughter for dead.

There will be no time in a mental hospital for Gribble. He was sentenced Friday to remain in prison until the day he dies.

The punishment couldn’t have been more severe under state law, although it almost seemed that Judge Gillian Abramson wished it could be. She sentenced Gribble to the maximum for every crime for which he was convicted.

“I believe the record will thoroughly support my belief that infinity is not enough jail time for you,” she said.

There is no death penalty in New Hampshire for crimes like the one Gribble and Steven Spader committed on Trow Road in October 2009.

A year and a half after the home invasion murder that rocked the tiny village and shocked the rest of the state, Abramson has sentenced both murderers to the harshest penalty the state could impose, life in prison plus 76 years.

Jaimie Cates made her first appearance in the courtroom Friday morning in time to hear Abramson pronounce her sentence. That was just after David Cates addressed the jury, Abramson and “the murderer in this courtroom,” he said.

“In this courtroom, I have listened to the accounts of Kim’s murder, one excruciating detail after the next, feeling in my body every strike of that machete and every stab of that knife,” he said. “I can’t fathom how depraved a person must be to commit such a heinous murder.

“Through these accounts, I have heard my wife’s last breath, I have listened to my child’s screams, I have watched as Jaimie’s perfect little body was mutilated and tortured.”

David Cates kept his comments to Gribble to a minimum, never mentioning him by name. Cates told him the jury’s verdict isn’t justice, but that he “can only hope that justice will find you very soon.”

Cates asked Abramson to sentence Gribble to the maximum available.

“Your Honor, there is no justice in a case like this, not really,” Cates said. “There is only the promise that you make to the rest of us that this worthless coward will never be free to kill another woman as she sleeps vulnerably in her bed, or brutally attack another innocent child.

“My wife and my daughter, each weighing less than 100 pounds at the time of this savage attack, were defenseless against the bloody onslaught of these gutless murderers.”

After Gribble was sentenced, lead prosecutor Jeff Strelzin said the Cates family was an easy one to fight for.

“We all became attached to them,” he said. “You all saw the classy way David Cates handled himself. Some (cases) just hit closer to home.”

New Hampshire State Police Sgt. John Encarnacao credited the dozens of other investigators who scrambled in the hours before Gribble was hauled into an interrogation room after the murder. He said the information they developed made it possible for him to elicit the full and blood-chilling confession he eventually did.

“This is what we all work for,” Encarnacao said. “This means a lot. I don’t know how to put it into words.”

The jury deliberated for a little more than two hours and returned its verdict around 9:15 a.m. Friday.

The verdict came 11 days after lawyers first presented their opposing depictions of what led Gribble to be inside the house at 4 Trow Road, gripping his father’s old Boy Scout knife in gloved hands and by the side of a machete-wielding Steven Spader.

The only expert qualified to offer opinions about legal insanity, Dr. Albert Drukteinis, was called by the state, Assistant Attorney General Peter Hinckley said in his closing argument, and offered an “uncontradicted” opinion that Gribble has no mental diseases or defects that would lead him to murder.

Gribble’s only expert witness even said he was clinically sane, Hinckley said, referring to Dr. Grace Tallarico, who treated Gribble in 2007 at the Counseling Center of Nashua.

The testimony included about 11 hours over three days of Gribble on the stand, plus about seven hours of the taped interview with Encarnacao.

Strelzin called the confession “the most haunting set of words I’ve ever heard.”

On the tape, and on the stand in front of jurors, Gribble calmly and dispassionately detailed every aspect of the attack, from the planning and preparation to creating an alibi and disposing of evidence afterward.

He especially focused on the handful of minutes he and Spader spent at Kimberly Cates’ bedside, where they committed one of the most horrific murders in state history.

“It’s shocking,” Strelzin said. “It’s horrible. But that’s who these two individuals are. These types of murders are extremely rare, thankfully.”

Gribble’s insanity defense fell on deaf ears in the jury box. His lawyers, Matthew Hill and Donna Brown, argued Gribble suffered from depression, personality disorder with grandiose and obsessive traits, and pervasive personality disorder.

Brown said a combination of Gribble’s mental illnesses, the collapse of his support system and re-acquaintance with Spader was a “perfect storm” that led to his action at 4 Trow Road.

What “rose up and couldn’t be controlled,” Brown said, was Gribble’s long-harbored rage toward his mother. For years, he had thought about killing her, but was able to control himself through structure and other coping mechanisms, such as music. He was active in the Boy Scouts, a cadet training camp and church activities.

In his post-verdict press conference, Strelzin said Richard and Tamara Gribble are good people and were fair to investigators from both sides.

“I can’t say enough about Mr. and Mrs. Gribble,” Strelzin said. “They are decent people. It’s not their fault their son decided to do this.”

Life in prison without parole is the mandatory sentence for first-degree murder. Abramson gave the maximum sentence for Gribble’s other crimes – attempted murder, conspiracy to murder and burglary, and witness tampering – and ordered that they be served consecutively.

In total, Gribble was sentenced to life, plus 76 years to life in prison.

Many people have commented on David Cates’ presence through the entirety of Gribble’s trial and Spader’s murder trial last year, and how it must have been to hear the vicious details of the attack time and again. His presence wasn’t lost on Abramson.

“I would just like to thank you for the dignified and graceful tone you set here in this courtroom throughout these proceedings,” she said. “I don’t know how you did it, day after day, week after week, coming in here and bearing witness to your family’s suffering.

“But I thank you for the way that you did it. I can assure you that your presence in this courtroom will resonate for a very long time to come.”

She also had a message for Jaimie Cates.

“I want to thank Jaimie for coming here today,” Abramson said. “It is nice to be able to finally meet you. I think it helps everybody here in this courtroom, Jaimie, to finally get to meet you and to see you. You are a lovely little girl.

“I hope you know that this man and the other men that were involved in this terrible crime can never hurt you again. I hope you understand that, and I wish you better days.”

Joseph G. Cote can be reached at 594-6415 or jcote@nashuatelegraph.com.