Prosecutor Calls Doug Grant "Black Angel of Death" in Closing Argument

Closing arguments started Tuesday in the closely watched trial of former Phoenix Suns nutritionist Doug Grant, and prosecutor Juan Martinez immediately went for the defendant's throat -- proverbially, of course.

We'll be writing a postmortem about this remarkably weird trial when (and if) the jury returns its verdict, which could be by the end of the week, but more likely will be next week.

Martinez portrayed Grant as a "black angel of death" who wanted his wife Faylene dead back in 2001 for a number of reasons, especially to get back with his onetime girlfriend Hilary, whom he married about a month after Mrs. Grant's demise in the couple's Gilbert home.

The prosecutor also accused Hilary (who never was charged in this case) of having "known" of the defendant's murderous plans. In fact, Martinez tried to tar just about everyone who testified on Grant's behalf in the case, including his family members and expert witnesses whose comments did not (to put it mildly) comport with the state's theories.

Defense attorney Mel McDonald gets his turn today, followed by a summation of up to two hours by the garrulous and relentless Martinez.

By the way, Judge Meg Mahoney dropped the proposed "assisted suicide" portion of her instructions to the jury on Monday morning after telling both sides that she finally determined that assisted suicide is not a so-called "lesser included" component of first-degree murder.

At the time we published our last blog early Monday morning, both the prosecution and defense indicated that they believed the jury would be instructed that it could find Grant guilty of manslaughter by helping Faylene Grant to commit suicide.

However, the judge did keep a general manslaughter instruction on the table, which could be a compromise verdict in the event of a split panel (some for acquittal, some for conviction).

The county Mdical Eaminer ruled that the cause of Mrs. Grant's death was drowning after she ingested sleeping pills. But the coroner also concluded that the manner of death was "undetermined," not homicide, suicide, or accidental.