It's been exactly two weeks since the jury in the Doug Grant murder case began to deliberate his fate. The panel returned to work this morning, and some close to the case suspect that a verdict finally may be near.
The basis for that belief are questions the jury has had in the past few days for Superior Court Judge Meg Mahoney, who presided over the months-long trial in downtown Phoenix.
On the face of it, those questions may not bode well for Mr. Grant. According to various sources, the jurors apparently asked the judge about the legal definitions of second-degree murder and manslaughter. (That is curious only because the jury instructions carefully spell out the definitions.)
Grant originally was indicted on one count of premeditated first-degree murder in the mysterious 2001 death of his wife Faylene, and the jury still could convict him of that charge.
But prosecutor Juan Martinez threw a curve at the defense team late in the trial when he asked the judge to allow the jury to consider lesser charges -- specifically second-degree murder and manslaughter.
Grant's defense attorney, Mel McDonald, fought hard against the inclusion of the lesser charges, but Martinez won the day.
It remains to be seen if the jury will opt to find the former Phoenix Suns nutritionist guilty of one of those so-called "lessers," either of which carry potentially long prison terms.
At this point, nothing that might happen in this twisted and tragic case will come as a shock to most of those (perhaps family members aside) who have tracked it closely.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.