Doug Grant Did "Everything Wrong"

The juror, a thoughtful woman who teaches art to elementary school children, started dreaming about the case during the trial.

"The other jurors and myself were lost in a forest, and we couldn't find our way back out," she says. "There was a cabin, and Doug Grant was in there. It was very intense, just like the real thing."

The real thing was Grant's murder trial, where the 51-year-old West Valley woman (we'll call her Julie) had been seated for five months, until the jury returned a manslaughter conviction March 24.

Julie says she wouldn't have minded being chosen as the alternate just before Judge Meg Mahoney sent the seven-man, five-woman panel off to deliberate Grant's legal fate for almost three weeks.

"Who am I to make a decision about another person's life?" she says.

Instead, Julie's colleagues chose her as their forewoman. The selection surprised the mother of two grown children, who doesn't consider herself much of a leader.

The irony of dreaming about the bizarre case didn't escape Julie, who tends to sleep fitfully (according to her husband) during stressful times. Being a juror in this high-profile case would be one of those times.

Deputy County Attorney Juan Martinez had focused on a passage in the late Faylene Grant's journal entries written three weeks before her mysterious September 2001 drowning at home in Gilbert.

The entry concerned a recurring dream of Doug Grant's — "He dreams it every night now" — that the prosecutor claimed lent credence to his theory that the defendant had fed Faylene's obsession with what she apparently believed was her imminent death.

"I can see how anyone would dream about what was going on," Julie says. "It was a very unusual situation."

But the reality of how the deliberations played out — and how close the jury came to being hung — would prove more powerful than any dream she's ever had.

"We all had this real bond. I mean everyone, talking about our lives, our kids — and then all of a sudden we had to really deliberate," Julie says of her fellow jurors. "You soon realize that everyone is seeing things differently. People were getting emotional and upset, and it was going from bonding to unpleasant."

After some days passed — "There was so much information to process," she says, "and we needed to look at it through our own eyes, not through the lawyer's" — the panel took its first vote, with each juror anonymously writing his or her decision on a piece of paper and dropping it in a cup.

That vote was seven for guilty (though no one specified what level of guilt — first-degree murder, second-degree murder, or manslaughter), four undecided, and one not guilty.

Julie was one of the question marks: "There are just so many maybes in this case — so many places where A doesn't go to B and B doesn't go to C."

One reason, she says, was that "the Gilbert police investigation was horrible. I really didn't like [lead investigator] Sergeant [Sy] Ray. He lied to a lot of people, and personally, I totally did not like that. The police are our caretakers in society, and we have to be able to trust them. The lying feeds into my feelings about him generally."

Julie and the rest of the panel — even the strongest of the first-degree murder adherents — didn't believe in Juan Martinez's last-second speculation about what had happened, that Doug Grant had held his drugged-up wife over the edge of the bathtub and forced her head underwater until he thought she was dead.

She says she told her fellow jurors, "Why at the end of the trial is Mr. Martinez telling us this now, with really nothing to back him up? At a time when no one can ask a question and the defense can't argue the point. If he thinks he has such a strong case, why now?"

As days of deliberation slipped away, the jury decided to "focus on was what happened in the bathroom and immediately afterward. We know that Doug had a chance to make the 911 call, and he didn't. All that time, she's lying on the bed, and he never thinks of calling 911? For me, at least, that's why he ended up where he is right now, because of that moment in time. Not because of Hilary, not because of Timpanogos . . . or any of the other stuff."

(Julie referred to Hilary Grant, whom Doug married shortly after Faylene's death and to the place in Utah where Faylene took what could have been a fatal tumble while she and Doug were on their second honeymoon.)

Julie remained obsessed with the case after the jury would finish deliberating for the day.

Slowly, she came to believe that Doug Grant was criminally culpable. She says she thought back to a terrible moment in her own life, when her father had suffered a heart attack in her home back in her native Michigan. Julie had instantly called for help, and can't imagine anyone doing differently.

"I think Doug was reckless," she says. "You can't help but think after hearing all of those things about Faylene's state of mind that maybe she wanted to go and maybe he was letting her go. I don't know. It very well could have been an accident with her falling asleep in the tub with the sleeping pills and muscle relaxers in her. My problem was, from the time he found her to the time the emergency people got there. I can't see him going for almost 15 minutes without calling 911 to see what's going on. Instead, he calls [physician's assistant] Chad White, leaves him messages. White calls him back, calls him back again though he can't remember why. Chad is almost to Doug's house when he calls 911."

All but two jurors eventually favored either a first- or second-degree murder conviction, including the original sole not-guilty vote and another panelist who had switched his vote to not guilty at one point.

"The first-degree people were very vocal that we should go there," Julie says. "It was getting crazy. There was just no way that we ever were going to get there, with 12 people agreeing on premeditated."

Tensions grew. The six jurors for first-degree offered to compromise with the manslaughter proponents, saying they'd drop to second-degree if everyone went there.

No dice.

Then, one of the first-degree jurors suggested that he or she (Julie doesn't want to specify gender) would vote not guilty and intentionally hang the jury rather than drop down to manslaughter.

"That juror thought that Doug was basically going to get away with murder if we went manslaughter, and that it might be God's will for that not to happen," Julie says. "I was dumbfounded. Eventually, I said that we were supposed to be the sole judges of the facts and that our laws are secular."

That juror and the other 11 finally agreed to render the verdict of manslaughter.

"If Doug had called anytime within the 15 minutes, I probably couldn't have even gotten to manslaughter," Julie says.

"We got to see just a little slice of Doug's life at the trial. We did see that he has family that obviously loves him, a woman who loves him, children, friends. He just did everything wrong."

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Paul Rubin
Contact: Paul Rubin