Spiked

The way to show love to family members takes some wicked turns in the Valley

The Paradise Valley police, after a lengthy investigation and a detailed report that ran more than 1,000 pages, asked the Maricopa County Attorney to prosecute. That agency so far has declined to press charges.

Heather's story drew an outpouring of sympathy from New Times readers, many of whom wrote letters to the paper. Over the next few weeks, New Times published more than a dozen letters, some from former nurses and acquaintances who corroborated Heather's allegations, some from readers who were appalled that Heather's husband seemed to be getting off the prosecutorial hook. The Spike hears that many readers also wrote directly to County Attorney Rick Romley urging that he take up the case.

Now, it seems John Grossman has orchestrated a letter-writing campaign of his own -- to the same people who wrote letters to New Times. Many of those who wrote in have received a letter from John's attorney putting them on notice that "based upon specific comments made by you in the Phoenix New Times" the law firm believes the letter-writers may have information relevant to the civil lawsuit between the Grossmans. The lawyer letter warns them not to destroy any "evidence" they may have.

Guest star: Renowned attorney Gerry Spence.
Guest star: Renowned attorney Gerry Spence.

The Spike can see how a former caregiver might have something of relevance to the case lying around. But readers who wrote in to comment on Heather's plight? Come on.

Bob McKirgan, John Grossman's attorney who signed the letters, contends people who wrote letters to the editor may now be witnesses. John's side believes that Heather and her family contacted people and asked them to write letters to the paper as well as the county attorney in an attempt to pressure John into giving her more money in the divorce case. McKirgan says Heather has made "an effort to keep this in the news and get money out of John wrongfully."

"We have not threatened to sue these people. They are just essentially a witness," McKirgan says.

But Heather's father, Ralph Stephens, who along with her mother has moved to Phoenix to help his daughter, has plenty to say. He calls the letters blatant intimidation.

"It's BS," he says. "They're trying to continue Heather's torture, that's exactly what they're doing."

Spike us! E-mail spiked@newtimes.com or call 602-229-8451.

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