NH murder suspect says he'd probably kill again

AP News
Posted: Mar 16, 2011 4:41 PM
NH murder suspect says he'd probably kill again

A New Hampshire man who has admitted being part of the deadly knife and machete attack on a woman and her 11-year-old daughter told a jury Wednesday he might kill again if he's ever released from prison.

Christopher Gribble, 21, said on the fifth day of his trial that he knows he's going to prison whether he's convicted or whether the jury sides with his defense _ that he's not guilty by reason of insanity. He admits he killed Kimberly Cates and maimed her daughter, Jaimie, at their Mont Vernon home in October 2009.

Gribble said if the jury finds him insane, there is a possibility he could go free one day.

"If I did get out, I think it is possible I could kill again," he said.

On cross-examination, Gribble acknowledged he planned the home invasion, supplied the machete and knife used to attack the victims and buried the weapons and some of the items stolen from the Cates' home. Prosecutor Jeffery Strelzin asked him if he acted "purposely" when he attacked Kimberly Cates.

"It's hard not be purposeful doing something like that, when you stick a knife in someone," Gribble replied.

Gribble testified for nearly 11 hours over the course of three days. Strelzin began his cross-examination Wednesday, clearly with the goal of establishing that Gribble was in control before, during and after the crimes.

"You chose to do this," Strelzin asked, to which Gribble replied, "Yes."

Strelzin showed Gribble a receipt for the jewelry he stole from the Cates home and pawned the next day for $130.62.

"So that's how much Kim's life was worth to you?" Strelzin asked.

"That's an interesting way to put it, but, yes," Gribble said.

Strelzin noted that less than four hours before the home invasion, Gribble was sitting in a car with his ex-girlfriend, Ashley Martin, who had angered and devastated him a week earlier when she broke up with him. Gribble had the weapons they would use on the Cates in the back of his car. Strelzin asked him why he didn't kill Martin.

"I never considered killing Ashley," Gribble said.

When asked if he could pick and choose who he killed and could control himself, Gribble replied, "Yes."

Quinn Glover, an Amherst man who participated in the home invasion and pleaded guilty to burglary, robbery and conspiracy, testified Wednesday that Gribble was "excited, happy, invigorated" after hacking at the two victims and plunging the knife into Kimberly Cates' throat. Glover said Gribble quickly shifted his focus from his victims to ransacking the room's bureau drawers for jewelry and other valuables.

Glover contradicted Gribble's earlier testimony that he felt nothing during the attacks.

Glover will be sentenced to 20 years in prison and also has testified against another co-defendant, Steven Spader.

Spader, who wielded the machete during the attacks, was convicted in November and is serving two life sentences without possibility of parole.

Also Wednesday, testimony that another co-defendant, Billy Marks, gave during Spader's trial was read to the Gribble jury. Marks, who has a cooperation agreement with the state that calls for a 30-year sentence, has not yet pleaded guilty and invoked his right to remain silent. Superior Court Judge Gillian Abramson denied a defense motion to compel him to testify.

Marks testified at Spader's trial that he was in the Cates' bedroom and watched as Gribble and Spader attacked the mother and daughter. Marks said that after the attacks, Spader was "aggressive" and pumped-up and it was Gribble who "tried to calm him down."

Gribble has testified his mother abused him physically and emotionally. When Strelzin reminded Gribble that he said his mother is someone who lies and hurts people, Gribble said, "Yes, I learned it from her."

Gribble asserted he would not lie to jurors to establish his insanity defense.

"I'm going to prison one way or the other," Gribble said. "It's not a choice between going to prison or not."

Gribble said he thought he could get psychiatric help if he was found insane. Strelzin told him he could get help in prison either way and challenged him to drop his insanity defense.

"I don't believe you on that, Mr. Strelzin," Gribble said.

Strelzin asked Gribble about comments he made just weeks ago to a state forensic psychiatrist to the effect that people in prison have no idea how dangerous he is. Strelzin asked him if that's why he often wore a quirky grin.

"I smile because all the people in there have no idea who they're messing with," Gribble replied.