Longform

Mormon Widower Doug Grant Wasn’t Counting on a Murder Rap When He Followed His Late Wife’s Instruction to Marry His Ex-Lover

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There, the trio will live eternally as husband and wives. (Those who commit murder are not allowed in the Celestial Kingdom under Mormon doctrine, but those who commit suicide may find their way there if God sees fit).

Faylene's later journal entries suggest she was ambivalent about her approaching death because she was happy on Earth.

But she reckoned that dying would be for the greater good, especially if she could be assured that Hilary — whom she had known and trusted for years — soon would serve as a mother to her beloved children.

Faylene began to deluge Hilary with letters and phone calls soon after she remarried Doug. She assumed a role as a kind of spiritual mentor to the young woman, whose heart had been broken when the divorced couple remarried.

Hilary, who is also Mormon, soon bought into the extraordinary notion that she was to assume the role as Doug's earthly mate immediately after God took Faylene.

Doug also spoke often with Hilary by phone after the breakup, though no evidence exists that the two ever saw each other again until after Faylene's death.

Among Faylene's other articluated revelations was that Doug and Hilary would have a baby girl together, the daughter Faylene long believed she'd be having someday.

She called the unborn baby "Nicolle."

Rather than seek mental help for his wife, Doug seemingly got caught up in his wife's death obsession.

"It just touched me," she wrote in a September 5 journal entry, "that this is another reason I must have faith in Doug's vision (he dreams it every night now), that I will get to go to the Celestial Kingdom because this is where [baby] Nicolle is in the pre-existence."

An LDS tract explains pre-existence: "We were first begotten as spirit babies in Heaven and then born naturally on Earth."

(Indeed, Hilary would give birth to a baby girl with Doug on July 8, 2003. They named the child Nevaeh, which is heaven spelled backwards.)

A few weeks before she died, Faylene made elaborate plans in her journal for her own funeral service.

The plans included the introduction of Hilary to the world as Doug's new (or soon-to-be) wife, though that never did happen at the actual service.

"I am choosing to give up the life I have that is perfectly the way I want it!" she wrote at the time. "I finally have a husband who treats me with love and respect that is even beyond what I could dream of!"

Faylene Grant's death obsessions couldn't have come as any surprise to her family.

Her mother, Glenna Eaves, told Gilbert Detective Sy Ray in 2002, "Faylene told me almost a year ago, when Doug and her were splitting up or after the divorce . . . on two different occasions, that she wouldn't be here long. And I just laughed it off. 'You don't believe stuff like that.'

"I just told her, 'I don't know anyone as good as you, Faye, and you've got these little kids. You're gonna be here a long time.' And then I just let it go. But, she had those feelings, you know."

Faylene had repeated similar thoughts to her younger half-sister Jody just a few weeks earlier.

However, Faylene's family and friends insist she never would have killed herself, saying that suicide would have kept her from passage into the Celestial Kingdom.

But LDS officials contacted by New Times suggest otherwise, pointing to a definitive comment on the subject by the late Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

"Suicide is a sin — a very grievous one," he wrote. "Yet the Lord will not judge the person who commits that sin strictly by the act itself. The Lord will look at that person's circumstances and the degree of his accountability at the time of the act."

Precisely how Faylene believed she might die remained a mystery.

Veteran prosecutor Juan Martinez is about to argue in court that Doug Grant killed her in the first degree.


Doug Grant's suspected motive for murder has evolved over the years.

Police in 2002 latched onto the time-tested motive of money, claiming Doug stood to collect hundreds of thousands of dollars in life insurance and other funds after Faylene died.

The benefits were not nearly as extensive as first believed, though Doug did collect $300,000 in life insurance as the sole beneficiary of Faylene's policy.

A onetime pal of Doug's later provided the cops with another money-related motive. Jim McElyea told authorities in 2005 that Doug feared Faylene would leave him again, saddling him with about $2,700 in renewed monthly child support and spousal maintenance payments.

McElyea snitched for the police to avoid his own prosecution after getting caught trying to bribe Faylene's family. He had promised the Eaves family information about Doug's supposed murder confession to him in return for $10,000.

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Paul Rubin
Contact: Paul Rubin