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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In 2006, McElyea recanted most of his account in an interview with New Times.

"Doug is an asshole, but I can't honestly say if he did or didn't kill Faylene, who was a real sweet lady," McElyea said. "I definitely got the feeling that the detective [Sy Ray] wanted Doug to be strung up on a post, and he didn't care how he got there. I wish I never had gotten involved in any of this."

(It's uncertain whether prosecutors will call McElyea — a linchpin of the state's case at one time — to the stand).

The prosecution now seems to hinge on the premise that Doug Grant is a sex fiend whose outsized libido was the prime catalyst for committing first-degree murder.

Prosecutor Martinez is likely to suggest that Doug realized he had made a mistake by breaking up with Hilary to return to the less-attractive Faylene.

He will try to paint Doug Grant as a coldly calculating wife killer who overdosed Faylene with Ambien and then probably held her head under the water in the bathtub until she was drowned.

With Faylene floating in the tub, according to the state's latest theory, Doug then casually made breakfast for one of his sons while his 11-year-old stepdaughter Jenna — a key witness for the prosecution — got ready for school.

Doug then pretended to "find" Faylene, yanked her out, and carried her to the bed, after which he rushed the kids out to a neighbor's house.

Doug then acted out the "phony" rescue scene, which included the call to physician assistant Chad White, but neglected somehow to call 911 in the process.

If the sex-fiend theory sounds flimsy, think again:

Defendants, guilty or innocent, can be convicted simply because jurors don't like them.

And the panel certainly may not cozy up to the likes of a Doug Grant, especially if it believes the testimony of Kari Handley, a second cousin and onetime good friend of Hilary's.

Handley is expected to say that Hilary told her (in the presence of Hilary's sister Holly) at a luncheon just one day after Faylene died that she and Doug had met in a park the previous night.

According to Handley, Hilary told her that Doug had greeted her by grabbing her hips and saying, "God, I missed those."

Handley also recalled Hilary telling her that Doug had insisted that Hilary "wait" for him after his remarriage to Faylene. If true, this suggests Doug knew his wife wouldn't be around for long.

Also, by Handley's account, Doug had told Hilary after his remarriage to watch a 1995 movie about King Arthur called First Knight, which depicted how his own quirky love triangle was meant to end.

In the movie, the character Doug identifies with winds up in a relationship with the character he identifies with Hilary, and the Faylene character dies.

Hilary continually has denied the "hips" and the "wait for me" comments, and her sister has backed her under oath.

Someone is lying.

But Hilary has admitted meeting Doug in the park a few days after Faylene died, where he showed her Faylene's "desire for you to be married immediately" letter and gave her several hundred dollars in cash.

Under any circumstance, jurors are not likely to appreciate a narcissistic Lothario who (guilty or not) proposed marriage to his ex-girlfriend just two weeks after his wife died and then wed her before the first mourning flowers at Faylene's burial site had wilted.

Juan Martinez is as comfortable and aggressive in a courtroom as is his counterpart, Mel McDonald, the former Superior Court judge and United States Attorney who has served as Doug's defense lawyer since the summer of 2005.

But this is the rare case in which the prosecutor, not the defense, will have to throw curveballs at jurors to deflect attention from the myriad weaknesses of their evidence.

The battle royal is right around the corner.

Gilbert police did little at first to investigate the tragic incident on East Michelle Way.

Officers took just five photographs inside the home on the morning of September 28, 2001, and spoke only perfunctorily to Doug Grant and other family members.

A few days after his wife's death, Doug met at his home with members of his and Faylene's family.

He turned over the "goodbye" letters Faylene had left behind for many of them, in which she thanked them for loving her and told them everything would be fine.

At Faylene's well-attended funeral in Mesa, her half-brother Douger Eaves described how Faylene had visited the LDS temple just about every day during the previous months.

"This is where she kept her sanity," Douger said. "She was either smiling or crying; there was no in between."

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Paul Rubin
Contact: Paul Rubin