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Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: The defense says the woman was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder after being beaten and sexually assaulted by Grissom
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: May 15, 2012
Date of arrest: Same day
Date of birth: 1982
Victim profile: Hunter Daniel Grissom, 28 (her ex-husband)
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Tuscaloosa County, Alabama, USA
Status: Sentenced to 25 years in prison on September 2, 2014
photo gallery

Mother's tears as she is sentenced to 25 years for murder of ex-husband 'who raped her' - despite juror's plea for leniency

  • Tracey Grissom, 32, of Alabama, found guilty of murder last month

  • She sobbed as she was led from the courtroom to face 25 years in prison

  • Juror Janice Kelley 'asked judge for leniency as she believed Grissom did not get a fair trial after details of her alleged rape and sodomy withheld'

  • Grissom murdered her ex Hunter Grissom, 28, in 2012, shooting him in the back six times at his workplace

By Louise Boyle -

September 5, 2014

A woman who shot dead her ex-husband after he allegedly subjected her to a brutal rape and physical abuse has been sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Tracey Grissom, 32, sobbed as she was taken from the Tuscaloosa County Courthouse in Alabama in handcuffs after being sentenced on Tuesday.

Grissom murdered her ex Hunter Grissom, 28, on May 15, 2012 and was found guilty by a jury last month. The couple have a five-year-old daughter, according to court records.

At her sentencing on Tuesday, one female jury member, Janice Kelley, asked the judge to be lenient, according to

Ms Kelley said she believed Grissom did not get a fair trial as details of her alleged rape and sodomy were not given to jurors.

When court restrictions were lifted on Tuesday at the sentencing, reported that Grissom told the court she had suffered permanent rectal and vaginal damage after allegedly being raped by her husband.

She pulled up her shirt in court to show that she was wearing a colostomy bag and said that she had undergone several surgeries.

She told the court on Tuesday that her husband told her during the 2010 attack that 'he would make it to where nobody would ever want me'.

She did not report the rape because he had threatened her life, the news site reported.

Following the sentencing on Tuesday, the victim's family shared their thoughts on Facebook page, Justice for Hunter Grissom.

Along with tributes to the deceased 28-year-old, several friends and family members claimed that Tracey Grissom was not raped and that a 'broken justice system' had failed Hunter and cost him his life.

Tracey Grissom's defense lawyer had claimed during trial that she acted in self-defense while suffering from post-traumatic stress caused by her husband's sexual assaults, reported.

Prosecutors said the killing had been motivated by the woman wanting to cash in Hunter Grissom's $100,000 life insurance policy.

She shot him in the back six times after ambushing him at work, the prosecution said.

According to a 2012 arrest warrant, Grissom was driving to work when she saw her ex-husband at a boat landing.

She claimed she had gone there to take a photo of him for litigation related to their divorce to prove he was working after he stopped support payments.

Several witnesses watched as the man made an obscene gesture and the woman opened fire, a sherifff said at the time. Grissom called 911 after using all her ammunition and told them she shot her ex-husband.

Hunter Grissom was previously charged with first-degree rape, first-degree sodomy, unlawful imprisonment and other drug-related charges.

At the time of his death, the local district attorney was pursuing charges but Mr Grissom was never found guilty, according to

Tracey Grissom was the alleged victim in the rape and sodomy charges, according to Tuscaloosa County District Attorney Tommy Smith in 2012.

According to, Tracey Grissom told police she was raped and sodomized by Hunter Grissom in November 2010.

She reported that he bound her legs with his belt, dragged her from their closet into their master bedroom and sexually assaulted her.

Tracey told police she was then knocked unconscious on the floor of their bathroom and didn't wake up until the next morning.

She went to the hospital for treatment following the alleged attack, and paperwork shows she had a gash on her head, bruises, bind marks on her feet and writing on her arm.

Grissom's attorney said outside court on Tuesday that he would be seeking a new trial for his client. The 32-year-old will be eligible for parole.


Tracey Grissom supporters react to sentencing

By Leigh Garner -

September 3, 2014

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) – Loran Richards has known Tracey Grissom since childhood, but became close friends with her in 2008. When asked about Tracey, Richards describes her as a strong and caring person who gives more than she takes. That’s why Richards was shocked to get the phone call on May 15, 2012 that Tracey had shot and killed her ex-husband, Hunter.

“I said no. No,” Richards says. “We’ve spent all this time…she would never go near him. What happened?”

Long before Hunter’s death, while he and Tracey were still in the process of getting a divorce; Richards noticed minor injuries on Tracey’s body. She says Tracey would act vague about the bumps and bruises, and explain them away. It wasn’t until Richards saw Grissom with a black eye that she seriously confronted her. “I said, Tracey, you may have terrible luck, but nobody is so unlucky that they trip, fall down the stairs, and hit their face on a baseball in the eye socket,” Richards remembers. “So don’t give me a lame excuse. You don’t have to give me any excuse, but let’s take a picture.”

Richards says that’s when Grissom opened up to her about the alleged domestic violence that she claims she suffered at the hands of her ex-husband. Richards took several photos for Grissom, ranging in severity. She also saw blood stains and other evidence of alleged abuse at Grissom’s home.

At the time of Hunter’s death, the local district attorney was pursuing charges against him including rape, sodomy, and false imprisonment. He was never convicted of anything. However, during the trial, Grissom and her attorneys were not allowed to go into detail about the stories behind those allegations. “Of course, that was a decision that the judge made,” says Grissom’s attorney, Warren Freeman, “but we feel that was in error, and that’s what our appeal is going to be based on.” Throughout the trial, Freeman argued that Tracey was in fear for her life when she shot Hunter after pulling down into the Binion Creek Boat Landing to take a picture for a pending civil case. A jury found Grissom guilty of murder back in August.

Richards spoke with Tracey about her potential prison sentence before the sentencing hearing on Tuesday. “She said, you know, he [Judge England] could tell me I have to sit in jail for the rest of my life,” Richards recalls, “but if that’s what has to be done to make a change, then I will have to do it. But none of what happened to me and none of what I’m going through needs to be in vain.” Richards took the stand, Tuesday, to comment on the pictures that she had taken of Tracey. She asked the judge for leniency.

After a five hour hearing, Judge England sentenced Tracey to 25 years in prison. As she was being escorted from the courtroom, Grissom cried while telling our cameras that the sentence surprised her and it “wasn’t fair”. Just before she vanished down a hallway, she cried out, “I just hope that someone will still fight for domestic violence.”

Tracey still have supporters that have promised to raise awareness about domestic violence. “We support her for the choices she had to make,” Richards says. There are close to 1,700 members on an online support group, Richards says she is hopeful that the group will be able to make changes to laws, that could potentially prevent a story like Tracey’s from happening again. She believes there need to be greater consequences for domestic violence charges and speedier prosecution.

Freeman also expressed disappointment in the Judge’s decision. “We think the sentencing was too harsh,” he says, “considering you have the foreperson of the jury actually saying, we don’t feel like she should be punished according to being found guilty of murder.” Both the foreman’s letter and another former juror spoke on Grissom’s behalf at the sentencing hearing. Freeman also claims that one juror has more to say that could impact the defense’s motion for a new trial. “Let’s just say that there will be a basis for a new trial, and part of it will be something that the jurors saw that they weren’t suppose to see,” Freeman says, “and I’m going to just leave it at that until I file my motion.”

We also reached out to Hunter Grissom’s family for comment about the outcome of the sentencing hearing. They have declined all on-camera interviews at this time. Several members of Hunter’s family did take the stand at the sentencing hearing to try and persuade the judge for a harsher sentence.

Hunter’s aunt told Judge England, “There have been lots of allegations against Hunter. We’ve never believed anything that has come out of her [Tracey Grissom] mouth.” She also directed a question from the stand to Tracey, “Hunter was proud of his name. Why would you still chose to use our name, and bring it down?”

Freeman is currently working a motion for a new trial, but because of the length of Tracey’s sentence, she is not eligible for an appeal bond. However, a circuit judge can release someone with a medical emergency. Tracey is currently on ten different medications under a doctor’s supervision. Her attorneys are exploring different avenues, such as her medical concerns, to get Tracey out on bond. For now, she remains in the Tuscaloosa County Jail.


Convicted murderer Tracey Grissom sentenced to 25 years

By Stephanie Taylor -

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Convicted murderer Tracey Grissom cried “It's not fair, it's not fair!” as she was led sobbing from the Tuscaloosa County Courthouse Tuesday.

Tuesday was the first night Tracey Grissom would spend behind bars for killing her ex-husband Hunter Grissom on May 15, 2012.

Tuscaloosa County Circuit Court Judge John England rejected her plea for probation when he sentenced her to 25 years in prison at a hearing Tuesday afternoon.

A jury found her guilty last month, but the length of her prison sentence was up to the judge.

Defense attorney Warren Freeman, who argued during the trial that Grissom shot her ex-husband because she feared for her life, said that he will seek another trial.

“We have some evidence that something happened in the jury room that was not appropriate,” he said. He didn't elaborate, but indicated that it involves a photograph that jurors saw during deliberations.

Tracey Grissom shot and killed Hunter Grissom at the Binion Creek boat landing more than two years ago. His family said he was a loving father, a good friend and a hard worker who was in a new relationship and wanted nothing to do with his ex-wife. She said that he was an abusive ex-husband who threatened her life on several occasions.

England told Grissom Tuesday that he believes she was afraid of Hunter Grissom when she fired the fatal shots.

Stephanie Billingslea, a prosecutor with the Alabama Attorney General's Office who prosecuted the case, asked the judge to sentence Tracey Grissom to 40 years in prison.

“She shot a man in the back as he was running away,” she said. “What leniency did she show him?”

The hearing, which lasted nearly five hours, marked an unusual end to an unusual case.

As during most sentencing hearings, the victim's family and friends took the stand to tell the judge how their lives have been impacted by the crime.

“It's going to be a lifelong struggle,” Melanie Garner said about losing her son.

Tracey Grissom had an equal number of people who testified on her behalf, including one of the jurors who convicted her and is now publicly claiming that Tracey didn't get a fair trial.

Former juror Janice Kelley said that she contacted Grissom's attorney the morning after the trial. She said she wouldn't have voted to convict Tracey if she had known details of the alleged rape, sodomy and false imprisonment that Tracey said she suffered.

“I feel I made a mistake. If I had to do it over again, we'd have had a hung jury,” she said. “We didn't get her side. She did not get a fair trial.”

The jury foreman wrote a letter that was read during the hearing. He said that the jurors voted to convict because there was no dispute that Tracey shot Hunter. Jurors didn't believe prosecutor claims that she did it in order to collect a life insurance policy, he wrote. They felt the shooting was a “crime of passion, not for financial gain,” he wrote and said she should be sentenced accordingly.

“I wish we had seen evidence of the rape allegation,” he wrote. “We feel that she just 'lost it.'”

Prosecutors said that Tracey Grissom went to the boat landing that day to shoot her ex, hoping to collect more than $100,000 from a life insurance policy. She said that she went there to take a photo that would prove he was earning an income, and could make the support payments he had stopped.

Unburdened by the restrictions imposed by the judge during the jury trial, Grissom was free to discuss the abuse allegations and to say anything she wished. At one point, she pulled her shirt up to reveal the colostomy bag she was wearing.

Grissom testified that Hunter was angry at her when he came to her house in November 2010. She went upstairs, she said, “to get away from the kids and to pray.”

She said that he knocked her to the ground, tied a belt around her ankles and choked her with a drumstick before abusing her and knocking her unconscious.

“He told me that he would make it to where nobody would ever want me,” she said. She didn't call police, she said, because he had threatened to kill her.

A domestic violence counselor who worked with Tracey when she sought help at Turning Point said that Grissom's injuries were some of the worst she's seen in a 20-year career.

“I was horrified,” Marian Waters said. “She had been subjected to a very vicious and very brutal assault. She was constantly on guard, experienced panic attacks and was jumpy. She had horrible night terrors. I felt she about to be put in a lethal situation and was terrified for her life.”

Tracey Grissom's friend testified that she helped Tracey after the alleged attack, and that the hematoma she saw on Tracey's side was the size of a grapefruit or small soccer ball.

She said that the alleged attack caused her to experience rectal nerve damage that required surgery, torn vaginal ligaments and other medical problems. She had to have a hysterectomy, she said, and other procedures.

Prosecutors asked whether those problems were caused by a elective labiaplasty that went wrong. Grissom responded that the surgery was to prevent infections and that she didn't experience problems until after the alleged rape.

Hunter Grissom's grandfather, grandmother and aunt were among those who testified, asking for a harsh sentence.

“Our family will never be complete again,” said his aunt Gina Grissom, who said she will never forget seeing Hunter and Tracey's five-year-old daughter patting and kissing his gravesite. “The one who has been hurt the most is his daughter.”

She said on the stand that Tracey has collected money to fight domestic violence, but questioned whether the money was used that way. She directly addressed Tracey at one point, asking why she had not gone back to using her maiden name.

“Why would you choose to use our name and bring it down?” she said.

Hunter's sister Chloe didn't testify in court, but a victim's services officer read her statement.

“I can only pray that you see how psychotic this woman really is,” she wrote to the judge. “She is the most selfish human being on this planet.”

England could have sentenced Grissom to 20 years to life in prison, and said that he stayed at the lower end because of her mental state at the time of the shooting and because she has no criminal history. He noted that her attorney chose not to argue that she was not guilty due to her mental state at the time, and that the defense chose not to allow the jury to consider a less serious charge, such as manslaughter.

After she was sentenced, Grissom was followed down the courthouse hallway by several news crews, including one from a national network news magazine. She shouted that the sentence wasn't fair, and that she hopes someone will fight against domestic violence.

Tracey Grissom will be eligible for parole.


Grissom Murder Trial Juror: “I feel I made a mistake”

By Leigh Garner -

September 2, 2014

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) – Through tears, Tracey Grissom told our cameras, “It’s not fair,” as she was escorted from Court Room No. 2, Tuesday evening. After a heated, five-hour hearing, Judge John England sentenced Grissom to 25 years in prison. The state recommended a 40 year sentence, but Judge England explained that the defendant’s mental state indicated a fear of the victim, and a sentence closer to the minimum was more appropriate.

Grissom was convicted by a jury in August of the murder of her ex-husband, Hunter Grissom. Tracey shot Hunter Grissom at the Binion Creek Boat Landing in May of 2012. For the first time, several members of Hunter’s family spoke in public by taking the stand to speak about the impact his death has had on their lives. “This tremendous loss has changed me,” Hunter’s mother, Melanie Garner told the judge, “and I don’t know how to change back.”

Although she did not speak in court, a victim’s services officer read a letter from Hunter’s sister Chloe in which she called Tracey, “psychotic.” She also called her, “the most selfish person human-being on this earth.” Hunter’s aunt also told the judge, “Every mother should pray every night that your son doesn’t fall in love with someone like Tracey.”

Tracey also had her supporters in the courtroom. Several people wore matching t-shirts in support of domestic violence awareness. Even a former juror, Janice Kelley, took the stand on behalf of the defense. Kelley explains she called Tracey’s attorney, Warren Freeman, the day after the trial ended. “I don’t think she got a fair trial,” says Kelley, “because her evidence where she said she was so scared of this man was not brought in, it was not let in.”

During the trial, Freeman argued that Grissom had shot her ex-husband in self defense, because she feared for her safety after suffering years of alleged rape and abuse at his hands. For the first time on the stand, Tracey Grissom was able to elaborate on those abuse allegations. She spoke of various medical procedures including a hysterectomy, and even lifted her shirt to show the judge her abdomen. Freeman says, the jury has indicated that they wanted to know more about the rape and abuse charges that allegedly caused those injuries. “Of course, that was a decision the judge made,” Freeman says, “but we feel that was made in error, and that’s what our appeal is going to be based on.”

“Me and two other men voted not guilty when we went in there, and then they [other jurors] kept on,” explains Kelley. When we asked why she changed her mind, Kelley told us, “Well they said we had to go by the evidence. What we had.”

The defense also referred to a letter written by the jury foreman. He explained that the letter was a way of “qualifying the verdict.” In the letter, the foreman explains that the jury never felt that Tracey Grissom murdered her ex-husband for financial gain, like the state had argued during the trial. The jury felt that Tracey pulled her car into the boat landing to take a picture and believe that she “just lost it.” The foreman specifically refers to his own opinions when explaining that he felt it was a “crime of passion.”

Freeman says he plans to appeal and seek a new trial.


Northport woman says ex-husband shot in self-defense

By Associated Press -

August 6, 2014

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) – An Alabama woman charged with murder in her ex-husband’s shooting testified Wednesday she was afraid of the man and fired in self-defense.

Tracey Grissom, 32, took the stand after prosecutors rested their case and tearfully said she hadn’t left home planning to kill Hunter Grissom that day.

Grissom testified that she went to a Lake Tuscaloosa boat ramp where her ex-husband was working to take a photo for use in their divorce case.

“The plan was to get a picture and get out of there as quickly as possible,” she said, according to The Tuscaloosa News.

But Grissom said the man looked at her “with this mean aggressive face.”

“He flipped me a bird and started coming toward my vehicle,” she said.

Grissom said she had not put her car in park before getting out and was worried it would roll down the boat landing and into the water.

“At that point, I didn’t have anywhere to go,” she said. “At that point, I didn’t know what else to do except to defend myself.”

Prosecutors describe the woman as a cold-blooded killer who shot the man four times on May 15, 2012, because she was after more than $100,000 in life insurance.

Earlier, a co-worker of Hunter Grissom testified the man had said “call the law” when the woman pulled up to the boat ramp in her car and before she opened fire.

Grissom testified she was afraid of her estranged husband and once lived in a safe house to protect herself from him.

The defense said the man had beaten and sexually assaulted the woman, and she was still suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Hunter Grissom was awaiting trial on rape and sexual assault charges at the time of his death.


Jury picked in ex-wife’s trial in Tuscaloosa

By Associated Press -

August 5, 2014

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) – Attorneys picked a jury and began opening statements Tuesday in the murder trial of a Tuscaloosa County woman charged in the deadly shooting of her ex-husband.

Lawyers selected the panel to hear the case of 32-year-old Tracey Grissom of Northport. Judge John England has told jurors the case could last for the rest of the week.

Assistant District Attorney Stephanie Billingslea says the woman killed her estranged husband Hunter Grissom for more than $100,000 in insurance money in May 2012. He was shot to death at a boat ramp near U.S. Highway 43 where he was working.

Jurors were shown a photograph of Grissom lying face-down in a pool of blood and heard a 911 call that was placed by William Dockery, Hunter Grissom’s friend and employee.

“Somebody just shot my boss, I think he’s dead,” Dockery told a dispatcher. “She just pulled up and I guess he knew something was about to happen because he said ‘call the law.'”

The defense doesn’t deny Tracey Grissom killed the man. But her attorney, Warren Freeman, says the woman was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder after being beaten and sexually assaulted by Grissom. The man was awaiting trial on rape and other charges at the time of his killing.

“When you hear all of the evidence from the stand, when you hear all of the backstory, you will understand why she had to shoot him that day,” Freeman said. “I honestly believe you will find her not guilty.”

Freeman argued that Grissom wouldn’t have killed her ex-husband for money because a contempt action in their divorce ordered Hunter Grissom to pay her $2,100 a month for the rest of her life. Killing the man for insurance money wouldn’t have been worth it, Freeman said.


Northport woman on trial in slaying of ex-husband

By Associated Press -

August 4, 2014

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) – Attorneys are selecting a jury for the murder trial of a woman accused of killing her ex-husband in Tuscaloosa County two years ago.

Tracey Grissom of Northport is charged in the gunshot slaying of Hunter Grissom. Authorities say she killed the man at a boat landing on May 15, 2012.

The defense doesn’t deny that Grissom pulled the trigger. Instead, they say the man sexually assaulted her months before and the woman was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder at the time of the killing.

The Tuscaloosa County District Attorney’s Office was prosecuting Hunter Grissom on rape and sexual assault charges at the time of his slaying, so the state attorney general’s office is handling the murder case.

Prosecutors contend Grissom killed her ex-husband for $103,000 in life insurance.


Woman charged in ex-husband's murder at boat landing

May 22, 2012

TUSCALOOSA COUNTY, AL (WBRC) - A 30-year-old woman has been charged with her ex-husband's murder after investigators say she shot him to death at the Binion Creek Boat Landing on Lake Tuscaloosa.

Tracey Grissom is charged with murder in the death of Hunter Daniel Grissom, age 27. Deputies with the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff's Office responded to the boat landing at approximately 8 a.m. Tuesday, May 15 after Tracey Grissom called 911 to report that she had just shot her ex-husband.

Hunter Grissom was previously charged with first degree rape, first degree sodomy, unlawful imprisonment and other drug-related charges, Sergeant Andy Norris with the Tuscaloosa Sheriff's Office said. Tracey Grissom was the alleged victim in the rape and sodomy charges, according to Tuscaloosa County District Attorney Tommy Smith.

Norris says the first deputy on scene took Tracey Grissom into custody. Other officials secured the scene and the firearm, and found Hunter Grissom face down in the parking lot next to his vehicle. Paramedics declared Hunter Grissom dead at the scene.

Investigators took Grissom into the Tuscaloosa Homicide Officer for questioning. In her interview, she told deputies she was on her way to work this morning when she saw he ex-husband at the boat landing. She said she pulled into the parking lot to take a photo for a pending civil case and her ex-husband saw her sitting in her car, Norris said.

Tracey told investigators that Hunter Grissom gave her "a mean look and an obscene gesture." She said she left her car and began firing at her ex-husband until the clip was emptied, then called 911.

Tracey Grissom was booked into the Tuscaloosa County Jail at approximately 1:15 p.m. Tuesday on a charge of murder. Her bond has been set at $60,000.

Court documents detail the criminal charges against Tracey Grissom's ex-husband Hunter. Tracey Grissom told police she was raped and sodomized by Hunter Grissom in November 2010. She reported that he bound her legs with his belt, dragged her from their closet into their master bedroom and sexually assaulted her. Tracey told police she was then knocked unconscious on the floor of their bathroom and didn't wake up until the next morning.

The court documents reveal that Tracey's 11-year-old son witnessed the couple arguing and said he heard someone running and falling. Tracey went to the hospital for treatment following the alleged attack, and paperwork shows she had a gash on her head, bruises, bind marks on her feet and writing on her arm.

Tracey and Hunter Grissom had a four-year-old daughter together.



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