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Stanley Lamar GRIFFIN





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Homeless man
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: September 19, 2010
Date of arrest: Same day
Date of birth: April 26, 1965
Victim profile: Jennifer Marie Hailey, 29
Method of murder: Strangulation
Location: College Station, Brazos County, Texas, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on July 2, 2012
photo gallery

Offender Information

Name: Griffin, Stanley
TDCJ Number: 999574
Date of Birth: 04/26/1965
Date Received: 07/02/2012
Age (when Received): 47
Education Level (Highest Grade Completed): 12
Date of Offense: 09/19/2010
Age (at the time of Offense): 45
County: Brazos
Race: Black
Gender: Male
Hair Color: Black
Height: 6 ft. 2 in.
Weight: 180
Eye Color: Brown
Native County: Gadsden
Native State: Florida

Prior Occupation
Landscaper, Short Order Cook

Prior Prison Record
#575379 - 20 year sentence from Harris County for Burglary of a Habitation with Intent to Commit Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon; released to Harris County on parole on February 5, 2003.

Summary of Incident

Subject entered the victim's residence and strangled her with his hands or an unknown object. He also stabbed and attempted to strangle the victim's young son. The victim died as a result of her injuries.


Race and Gender of Victim
White female

Texas Department of Criminal Justice


Griffin sentenced to death

June 30, 2012

A Brazos County jury gave the death penalty Friday to Stanley Lamar Griffin for murdering a 29-year-old mother and violently assaulting her 9-year-old son.

Jurors deliberated for about four-and-a-half hours to reach a verdict in the sentencing phase of Grififn's 10-day capital murder trial.

On June 20, the third day of the trial, the jury spent 68 minutes behind closed doors before finding Griffin guilty of strangling Jennifer Marie Hailey and kidnapping her son inside their College Station apartment on Sept. 19, 2010.

More than a dozen of Hailey's family members - including her parents and son - and friends packed into the courtroom, along with Griffin's mother, brother, sister, niece and two nephews.

Having been warned by the judge against showing any reaction to the verdict, family members on both sides remained composed as the jury's decision was read.

Several of Hailey's family members had planned on giving victim impact statements once sentencing was completed, but changed their minds and left the courthouse without comment.

"This case was successful because a 9-year-old boy had courage to go into that courtroom, overcome his fears and seek justice for himself and his mother," District Attorney Bill Turner said, referring to the testimony Hailey's son gave about what he recalled from that night.

The now 11-year-old told jurors he remembers waking up shortly after 10 p.m. that Sunday to find Griffin laying on top of his mother with his hands around her in the living room. He said he asked the man -whom he'd met several times before and called by name -what he was doing.

But Griffin insisted his name wasn't Stanley and sent the boy to his room, according to his testimony.

About 15 minutes later, Griffin strangled Hailey's son before grabbing a garden trowel and stabbing him several times in the face, neck and back. He woke up at about 4:40 a.m. on the floor near his kitchen, covered by a comforter.

In closing arguments, Turner urged jurors to keep Hailey's son in mind as they sorted through evidence brought by the defense against the death penalty.

"Soon I'm going to have a conversation with someone who will ask what happened to the man that killed my mother," he told the jury. "This is not a drive-by shooting, this is getting up close to another human being and feeling the life draining out of them, then going to another and trying the same thing."

Turner said Griffin's trial was the first time in Brazos County that defense attorneys had attempted to use the mental retardation issue as a defense against the death penalty.

Defense attorney Lane Thibodeaux - who worked alongside Steve Gustitis - said he was disappointed by the outcome, but respected the jury's verdict and appreciated the time they'd dedicated.

"This was an emotional case," he said. "Of course my heart goes out to the Hailey family, but I think it's important as criminal lawyers that we take on and deal with these kinds of cases -the worst kind of cases."

Along with mental retardation, the defense spent significant time exploring the defendant's background, particularly his childhood.

"This idea of moral culpability - it's not about whether somebody had a choice, it's about what shaped those choices," Gustitis said.

He argued that a lack of nurture from birth combined with Griffin's low intellectual functioning were reasons to find that mitigating circumstances existed that decreased his moral responsibility - a factor jurors had to consider when assessing punishment.

Prosecutors said while they were pleased with the outcome and grateful to jurors for their thoughtful service, success in a death penalty case isn't something they celebrate.

Baker said Hailey's family was glad Griffin had been held accountable but also recognized that justice for their case meant grief for another family.

"I think the jury went a long way toward starting the healing process for Jennifer's family," he said.

As Griffin was being escorted out of the courthouse, he turned toward his family to say, "Love y'all," flashing a quick smile.


Psychologist: Griffin Has "Mild Mental Retardation"

By Steve Fullhart -

June 28, 2012

The most critical witnesses for Stanley Griffin's defense team testified Wednesday, with one of the two psychologists saying the convicted capital murderer has "mild mental retardation."

If at least one juror agrees with Dr. Mark Cunningham's assessment, Griffin cannot be sentenced to death for the September 2010 murder of Jennifer Hailey in her College Station home. Instead, he would receive life in prison without parole.

The United States Supreme Court ruled in the Atkins v. Virginia case that people with diagnosed mental retardation cannot be executed, as it would be a violation of 8th Amendment outlawing cruel and unusual punishment.

Cunningham used six IQ tests Griffin completed to show his IQ has been in the mid-60s or low-70s. The first prong of a mental retardation diagnosis under the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM, is an IQ below 70, or below 75 within a margin of error.

The second prong is clear deficiencies in adaptive behavior. Through interviews with Griffin, his family members, friends and employers, Cunningham says Griffin was deficient in categories like "work," "self direction," "social/interpersonal skills" and "functional academic skills."

These deficiencies and a low IQ clearly showing up before the age of 18 is the third prong. Cunningham says that's clear by his school records in Florida, where Griffin was placed in a special program.

Cunningham also testified to an analysis of Griffin as to his future danger to others if he is allowed to live. The psychologist says given his record in prison, Griffin does not appear to be a risk. Cunningham also says the likelihood of prisoners over the age of 40 committing serious violent acts is substantially lower than others.

Prosecutors are prepared to call experts to counter Cunningham's assessments.

A difficult childhood combined with a low intellectual capacity made for a "perfect storm" when it came to Griffin's adulthood, according to another psychologist who testified Wednesday for the defense.

Dr. Jolie Brams says she reviewed thousands of records and conducted interviews with friends and family members of Griffin's -- though not with Griffin himself -- in testifying to Griffin's youth and how it affected him later in life.

Brams testified that with appropriate nurturing at a young age and special training, people with an IQ like Griffin's may be able to do simple, low stress, repetitive work, but that working independently for the long term is next to impossible. But she said a childhood with limited support and physical and verbal attacks Griffin experienced did not put him in a position to be able to succeed.

Without a proper caregiver and reenforcement from them, Griffin was a prime candidate for having relationship issues.

Under cross examination, Brams says her interviews seemed to show Griffin did know right from wrong and is aware he's responsible for choices he makes. She also said Griffin could control impulses, but in more serious relationships he's been in, it becomes harder than with casual instances.

The state tried to refute that by bringing up that Griffin did not have a serious relationship with Hailey or with Jodie Piacente, who he attacked in her home in 1990. He served 12 years in prison for that crime.

Brams did not agree with the state's assertion that "character, no circumstance, makes a man."


Griffin's Mother Denies Abusing Son in Murder Trial Testimony

By Steve Fullhart -

June 27, 2012

Stanley Griffin's mother denied ever verbally or physically abusing her son during the punishment phase of his capital murder trial. She said it was Griffin's father who was abusive, and that she was always a supportive, loving mother.

Dorothy Hicks' testimony Tuesday largely contradicted aunts of Griffin's and his ex-girlfriend, who testified they saw Griffin regularly beaten and berated by his mother during childhood and into adulthood.

The defense is hoping to show the jury Griffin's troubled upbringing is a mitigating circumstance that should keep the ten women and two men from sentencing him to death for the September 2010 murder of Jennifer Hailey in College Station. Griffin also attacked her nine-year-old son, but he survived.

In answering defense questions, Hicks denied striking her children or husband, "Tootsie" Griffin, with her hands, sticks and boards, and said she didn't Stanley "crazy" or "stupid" among other names. Instead, she said her late-ex-husband regularly shook and threw down Stanley when he was crying as a baby. "Tootsie" was abusive towards them as they got older, according to Hicks, who said she eventually left him.

Beyond the "she-said, they said" family drama, Griffin's last girlfriend retook the stand at the start of Tuesday. Andrea Copelyn continued to affirm that despite Griffin's threats of violence -- including death -- towards her, she still loved Griffin. Prosecutors even revealed the two spoke on the phone after her testimony Monday.

Copelyn reaffirmed she always wanted to eventually be with Griffin once her kids got through school. The relationship between Copelyn's children and Griffin was strained.

Also testifying Tuesday morning was a psychologist who administered an IQ test to Griffin in April. He scored a 73. The confidence scale ranged from 69 to 78.

The defense is trying to convince the jury that Griffin is mentally retarded, making him ineligible for the death penalty under the U.S. Constitution's 8th Amendment. Florida educators have testified he scored a 65 while in school, below the generally accepted high end score of 70 for retardation.

IQ is one aspect of the condition. Another is the ability to function, learn things and retain information day-to-day. Both sides have tried to present information pertaining to how Griffin lived his life and any struggles he may or may not have had.

At the end of testimony Tuesday, a couple that attends Covenant Family Church told jurors about the morning of September 19, 2010. The said Griffin came to the front of the church after services and asked the couple to pray for him, that he was homeless, had done wrong and wanted to get on the right track. They described him as looking hopeless and like a sad child.

The next time the couple saw Griffin was a picture of him on the news the next day. He had killed Hailey the night of September 19.

As a convicted capital murderer, there are only two punishment options for Griffin: life in prison without possibility of parole or the death penalty. A death sentence must be unanimous.

Defense witnesses are expected to take the stand through Wednesday, with prosecutors set to call a handful of rebuttal witnesses before closing arguments, which could come as early as Thursday afternoon.


Abusive Childhood, Last Love Interest Part of Griffin Trial Testimony

By Steve Fullhart -

June 25, 2012

Stanley Griffin's longtime and last girlfriend said he would do anything for her, but was constantly put down by a mother who never showed she loved him.

As a child, the convicted murderer was slapped, hit, beaten with sticks and boards, and called names by his mother, all according to aunts who also testified in their nephew's trial Monday.

Andrea Copelyn, a witness recalled by the defense in the punishment phase of the proceedings, discussed part of her long relationship with the man found guilty of killing Copelyn's former coworker, Jennifer Hailey, in her College Station home in 2010.

While there were constant fights, including one that turned physical and led to Griffin going to jail, Copelyn always wanted to be with him eventually. She ended the relationship in July 2010 because Griffin and her kids weren't getting along, but she wanted her kids to get through school, then planned on going back to him.

"I don't think anyone will love me like he did," Copelyn testified. "It was crazy, intense." She said Griffin would care for her, cook and clean. He tried to get employment, but had trouble keeping jobs and passing tests for a commercial driver's license.

Griffin was so in love with Copelyn that witnesses have testified to their break-up as seemingly being a breaking point for Griffin, who two months later killed Hailey and attacked her nine-year-old son. His attitude changed in that period, and his smile disappeared.

Griffin stayed with Copelyn's friends for a bit after the break-up, then went to SOS Ministries. After a church event Copelyn attended to support Griffin, he asked to come home, only to be denied by Copelyn. She says Griffin "lost it," got in her car and begged to be taken home.

Griffin was kicked out of SOS, stayed in a vacant house a couple of nights, but lived in a park, though Copelyn admitted their physical relationship continued as other aspects were on hold.

Asked if she still loved Griffin despite his crimes, Copelyn said, "I don't love the Stanley that did that to Jennifer. I love the Stanley that I had. They're different.

The third day of the punishment phase began with testimony from four aunts, sisters of Stanley's father, the late Willie "Tootsie" Griffin.

The siblings spoke of growing up in a strict, spiritual, caring home. The family worked on a tobacco farm near Quincy, Florida. "Tootsie" married Dorothy, who the sisters said was relentlessly abusive towards her husband and her two kids.

Griffin's mother and her latest husband are due to testify Tuesday.

Stanley Griffin's aunts said they repeatedly saw Dorothy hitting her husband and kids with her hands, sticks and boards, leaving welts and bruises on them. The abuse happened in the farm fields and in the home, but was not relegated to physical abuse.

The aunts said they did not witness positive reenforcement from Dorothy to her kids. She would curse them and call Stanley "stupid," "black as tar," "crazy" and "just like your daddy."

They also said Dorothy would talk back to her mother- and father-in-law, who tried to provide Stanley Griffin with love and support, along with the aunts.

One aunt said Stanley was slow to grasp his studies and needed repeated emphasis from her when they were going over his schooling. Another aunt said Griffin was a "joyful," an "ordinary" boy who would put on talent shows and play games.

The jury has two options for punishment: life in prison without the possibility of parole, or the death penalty. To sentence him to death, the jury must determine Griffin is a future danger to others, and that there are no mitigating circumstances that would prevent the State of Texas from executing the 47-year-old.

The defense is arguing that Griffin is mentally retarded, thus making him ineligible for the death penalty under the U.S. Constitution.

Early Monday afternoon, educators from Gadsden County, Florida testified about Griffin's records from a special needs school program. While they did not remember Griffin because of the hundreds and thousands of students they educated, their records from the early 1980s showed Griffin had a low IQ -- 65 as he entered middle and high school years -- and struggled to retain information.

Prosecutors said they would provide their own experts to counter the defense's and prove Griffin is not mentally retarded. They are asking the jury to sentence Griffin to death.


Griffin's Lawyers to Argue Their Client is Mentally Retarded

By Steve Fullhart -

June 23, 2012

Lawyers for Stanley Griffin will work to show their client's lack of intelligence and upbringing are among the reasons to spare his life.

Friday morning, the defense for the convicted capital murderer began its presentation in the punishment phase of the trial after prosecutors rested after a little more than a day of witnesses. By early afternoon, they wrapped things up until Monday morning.

One of Griffin's court-appointed lawyers, Stephen Gustitis, told the jury of ten women and two men that his client was mentally retarded and never scored above a 75 on IQ tests. Gustitis also said they will show Griffin's upbringing was bad, and that he had neither the nature nor the nurture he needed in his life.

Griffin, 47, was convicted by the same jury Wednesday. Jurors took 65 minutes to find Griffin guilty of capital murder for the September 2010 strangulation of Jennifer Hailey, a 29-year-old former coworker of his ex-girlfriend. Hailey's nine-year-old son was attacked during the same incident at her home.

Gustitis told the jury it was Griffin's break-up weeks before Hailey's murder that sent him in a downward spiral. Thursday, a state witness testified that Griffin told her he wanted to tie up his ex in front of her kids and slit her throat.

At the start of the punishment phase Thursday, prosecutors told jurors they expected the defense to claim Griffin was mentally retarded, and that they would counter defense experts with some of their own to disprove the theory.

By law, defendants deemed mentally retarded are not eligible for the death penalty. The only other punishment option for those convicted of capital murder is life in prison without possibility of parole.

The state ended its punishment phase presentation by calling Griffin's probation and parole officers to discuss the time after he was released from prison. Griffin served 12 years of a 20-year sentence for a 1990 attack on a Webster, Texas woman in her home.

Defense witnesses Friday morning included neighbors of Griffin who said they believed he was a nice person, but that something was a little off.


Victim of Prior Griffin Attack: "I Thought I Was Going to Die That Night"

By Steve Fullhart -

June 22, 2012

Stanley Griffin nearly killed another woman in her home, told a neighbor he wanted to slit his ex-girlfriend's throat in front of her kids, and has bullied a capital murder suspect in jail, all according to testimony Thursday in the punishment phase of his own murder trial.

A previous assault victim of Griffin and the son that may have saved her life recounted the 1990 attack Thursday morning.

An emotional Jodie Piacente recalled the May 1990 incident in Webster, Texas. Griffin, a friend of Piacente's on-and-off-again boyfriend at the time, broke through a window in her home, came at her with a knife and tried to choke her.

"And then I just know that we struggled," she told the jury. "I was trying to get the knife out of his hand. We ended up on the floor, and he was on top of me with my face down.

"I thought for sure I was going to die that night."

Piacente's son, Chris, testified to jumping on Griffin's back and punching him to help free his mother. Chris was five years old at the time.

Griffin grabbed a second knife, but Jodie Piacente left through a window and was able to get help. Her children were not injured, and Griffin left after she escaped.

The now-47-year-old was sent to prison for the Piacente attack. Now, he faces either life in prison without parole or the death penalty for the 2010 murder of Jennifer Hailey in College Station.

Wednesday, Griffin was convicted of capital murder. The Brazos County jury took less than 65 minutes.

Griffin also assaulted Hailey's son. The then-nine-year-old was stabbed in the face and neck by Griffin with a garden trowel.

Piacente described Griffin as "quiet, sort of methodical" and "mysterious."

"It was a little strange the way he behaved, but I couldn't quite put my finger on it," she added.

Griffin was the "pot guy" in the area, Piacente said. During the 1990 attack, she said he smelled of alcohol and some sort of drug.

Thursday afternoon, a neighbor of Griffin's testified he told her he had wanted to kill his ex by tying her up and cutting her throat in front of her children.

""I told him he needed to get some help," Brandy Davidson told the jury. "Maybe he should check into the hospital. They could help him."

Davidson ended that conversation, which took place just weeks before Griffin killed Hailey, a former co-worker of his ex-girlfriend. Davidson did not tell anyone of her talk with Griffin, something she said she regretted after finding out about Hailey's murder.

The son of that Griffin ex-girlfriend described Griffin as argumentative and violent towards him and his mother, including one instance he was choked. His mother testified she didn't know her son was assaulted until after she ended the relationship.

Another ex-girlfriend from six years earlier testified that Griffin put her daughter's hands up to open flames and a hot oven as punishment.

çAt the end of the day, a string of Brazos County Sheriff's Office correctional officers testified that Griffin was verbally abusive, lobbed threats at them and resisted them ever since he was jailed the day of the Hailey murder.

In one of the more bizarre moments, one deputy recalled seeing Griffin, 47, bully another capital murder suspect, 19-year-old Gabriel Hall, into leaving his lunch for Griffin to eat during feeding time.

Once the state has finished calling its witnesses, the defense will call its own, hoping to persuade the jury of ten women and two men to spare Griffin's life.

There are only two punishment options for capital murder: the death penalty or life in prison without possibility of parole.

If jurors unanimously determine Griffin is a future danger to others and there aren't mitigating circumstances like mental retardation, he will be sent to death row.


Griffin Guilty of Capital Murder

By Steve Fullhart -

June 21, 2012

A Brazos County jury has found Stanley Griffin guilty of capital murder in the September 2010 death of Jennifer Hailey of College Station, which included the kidnapping of her then-nine-year-old son.

The jury deliberated 65 minutes following closing arguments.

As a result, he faces either life in prison without the possibility of parole or the death penalty. Prosecutors are seeking death.

The punishment phase of the trial begins Thursday morning.

The jury began deliberating the case at 3:05 p.m. Wednesday.

DNA evidence shows Griffin killed the 29-year-old Hailey in her apartment and attacked her then-nine-year-old son in September 2010.

To convict Griffin of capital murder, the state had to prove to the jury that the son was, by the letter of the law, kidnapped. Capital murder is a murder committed during the commission of a certain set of felony crimes.

The state looked to convince the jury Hailey was still alive when her son received an order from Griffin to go back to his room. Prosecutors argued Hailey was still struggling for her life, which she eventually lost by strangulation, according to the autopsy.

Griffin's defense team argued the evidence the state relied on was not enough to prove Hailey was alive. They contended Hailey was already dead when the boy came upon his mother and the murderer.

Even still, the defense said the son's movements were never restricted and that he was never confined in his home. The state argued the order by Griffin to the boy as he had the boy's mother served to restrict the boy by fear he could be hurt.

Griffin attacked the boy when he reemerged from his room minutes after he was ordered back, including with strikes to the head and neck with a garden trowel.

"[The boy] was never going to leave these four walls," prosecutor Brian Baker said in closing arguments. "He (Griffin) was going to do everything in his power to make sure he didn't see the light of day again."

The jury could have found Griffin guilty of a lesser murder charge if they didn't believe a kidnapping took place or if they had believed Hailey was dead before a kidnapping. That would have taken the death penalty off the table.

"Justice for Jennifer is convicting Stanley Griffin of murder," defense attorney Stephen Gustitis told the jury, a complete concession that the state's evidence proves Griffin was the killer. "If you convict Stanley Griffin of murder, he's not getting away with anything."

The DNA of Griffin was found under the fingernails of Hailey, according to a DPS crime lab analyst.

On the third day of testimony in the trial, analyst Allison Heard also told the jury the trowel found in an outdoor trash can near the Hailey home the morning of the murder was covered in the blood of Hailey's son. Heard could match any DNA on the handle.

The blood of the child was found on the shoes Griffin was wearing when he was arrested hours after the murder, this according to Emma Becker, a second crime lab analyst who testified Wednesday morning.

Prosecutors contended Hailey used her right hand to try and rip Griffin's left arm from around her neck. When authorities found Griffin later the day of the murder, he had fresh scratch marks on his left arm. He said they were caused two days earlier from riding his bike through brush.

A baseball cap found in the Pedernales Drive home of Hailey and her son was also tested for DNA. Hailey's DNA almost certainly was found on it, Heard testified. With other DNA found on the cap, Griffin could not be excluded as a possibility, but it was not as conclusive.

Shortly before the murder, Griffin was seen in surveillance video at a Navasota convenience store with a friend, who testified to dropping Griffin off near Hailey's home. He was wearing a similar hat.

The State of Texas called 18 of its listed 294 potential witnesses. The defense called just one, a College Station police detective who discussed the investigation and his interviews with Hailey's son.


Footprints, Hat at Murder Scene May Point to Griffin

By Steve Fullhart -

June 19, 2012

Footprints found in blood in Jennifer Hailey's home were extremely similar to those that would be left by shoes Stanley Griffin was wearing when he was arrested for Hailey's murder, a crime scene investigator testified to Tuesday.

In addition, a white ball cap recovered in Hailey's home on September 20, 2010 appeared similar to the one Griffin was seen wearing in surveillance video at a Navasota convenience store as he returned to College Station the night of September 19. Griffin's friend testified Monday that he dropped Griffin off near Hailey's home at Griffin's request.

Earlier Tuesday, a forensic pathologist who conducted the autopsy on Hailey told a jury Tuesday that the 29-year-old mother died of strangulation.

Dr. Satish Chundru from the Travis County Medical Examiner's Office took jurors through pictures of Hailey's body. She was allegedly killed by Griffin, who is on trial for capital murder.

Chundru said injuries on Hailey's neck and face, including bruises and burst blood vessels, were consistent with blood (and therefore, oxygen) being deprived to her head and brain.

The pathologist also looked at pictures of Hailey's son, who authorities believe was attacked by Griffin after he watched his mother's strangulation in their home. While he didn't examine the then-nine-year-old in person, Chundru said some of his injuries also appeared to be from strangulation.

The child also suffered significant wounds to his throat, believed to be from a garden trowel. That item was shown to the jury for the first time, and Chundru confirmed it could have easily caused the injuries seen in the photographs.

Monday, the boy testified he saw Griffin on top of his mother around 10:30 p.m. on September 19, 2010. He said Griffin ordered him to return to his room. When the boy emerged 15 minutes later, he said Griffin choked him, then struck him in the face. He said he blacked out, awoke later and found his mother dead.

Jennifer Hailey’s brother, Jason, also testified Tuesday, recalling his arrival at his sister’s home the next morning after his nephew’s call for help to his grandmother. Jason tried to do CPR on Jennifer, but to no avail.

When discussing his conversation with his nephew soon after his arrival, Jason said the boy told him the attacker had physically put him in his bedroom.

Later, a College Station police detective told the jury about his investigation that day, including how police eventually found Griffin at a family home with fresh scratch marks on his arm, which would be consistent with a struggle.

Detective Travis Lacox also discussed a conversation he had with the boy, who was in the hospital. Lacox said the child told him Griffin had attacked him in the living room of the home. Blood was found in a hallway of the home leading from the living room to the bedrooms.

The state is seeking a capital murder conviction for Griffin. They say DNA evidence -- expected to be presented Wednesday as the state's presentation wraps up -- will prove he committed the murder of Jennifer Hailey. To elevate the crime to capital murder, they allege Griffin, by the letter of the law, kidnapped the boy.

The defense has tried to emphasize inconsistencies in the boy's statements in the days and weeks following the murder, including where he said he was in the home at the time of the incidents and how they took place. They have also questioned the state's kidnapping assertion.

If convicted of capital murder, the state will seek the death penalty. If the jury does not believe a kidnapping took place, they can convict Griffin on a lesser murder charge, which takes the death penalty option off the table. A not guilty decision frees Griffin. He has been jailed since the day of the murder when he was arrested for it.

Previous witnesses have shown Griffin was in the area of the Pedernales Drive home of Hailey at the time of the incident.

A friend of Jennifer Hailey testified that Griffin had been dating a former colleague at a doctor's office in College Station, and that Griffin had been around the office a number of times, including when Hailey's son was there.

A police report from just after the incident describes Griffin as having asked Hailey if he could live with her, but that she refused. Beyond that possibility, motive for the murder has not been discussed in court.


Murder Victim's Son Testifies in Griffin Trial's First Day

By Steve Fullhart -

June 18, 2012

The son of Jennifer Hailey -- the only witness to her murder and himself an attack victim -- testified Monday afternoon in the trial of Stanley Griffin.

Now 11-years-old, the boy testified that he woke up late on the night of September 19, 2010 to find Griffin on top of his mother in her bedroom. He said he recognized Griffin and said his first name, only for Griffin to identify himself as "Michael from Huntsville" and tell the boy to go back to his room.

A few minutes later, the then-nine-year-old returned to his mother's room and saw her passed out on the floor. Soon after, he says Griffin started strangling him. He then allegedly grabbed a garden trowel and struck the boy in the head and neck.

The boy, still sporting scars where he was hit, said he awoke in a different part of the house with a comforter over him. Dazed and confused, he came upon his mother on the floor, saw his own wounds in a mirror, started remembering things, and eventually called his grandmother for help.

Later, a video was shown of the hospitalized child picking the picture of Griffin out of a set of photos and identifying him as the person who attacked.

Under cross examination, defense attorney Stephen Gustitis brought up several recorded statements the son had made to authorities and medical professionals in the hours and days following the trial, including how the attack took place and what was said during it. Each time, the son either could not remember saying those things or denied saying them. Later witnesses would testify that their transcripts were accurate to the best of their recollection.

The defense team says the murder of Hailey and the attack on her son were undeniably horrific crimes, but that inconsistencies in the "small details" will give a jury reasons to find the defendant not guilty of capital murder.

Monday, through Gustitis, Griffin pleaded not guilty to capital murder, which was a murder charge elevated by a charge of kidnapping.

Brazos County District Attorney Bill Turner told the jury during opening arguments that DNA evidence found at the home on Pedernales Drive and on the bodies of Hailey and her son will prove Griffin was the killer, but they also argued that, by the letter of the law, the now-47-year-old kidnapped the child by virtue of ordering him to go back to his room with the idea that harm could come to the child if he didn't comply.

A murder can be elevated to the capital level if certain other crimes are committed in conjunction with the killing. Among them are burglary and kidnapping. Capital murder, unlike any other level of murder, is punishable by death, which the state is seeking.

In his opening statement, Gustitis noted Griffin had been convicted of another attempted murder by strangling in 1990 and served 12 years in prison.

Gustitis argued that because of the prior conviction, prosecutors were looking for anything they could to elevate the murder of Hailey to capital. The state originally got a burglary charge added on by a grand jury two months after the crime, then in June 2011 tacked on a kidnapping charge. The burglary charge was later dropped by the state, but the murder remained a capital offense because of the kidnapping.

Gustitis said authorities never suspected a kidnapping and never investigated one, and that Hailey's son never once said he had been kidnapped. Gustitis also said the son was inconsistent with his story of how the crime happened with the people he discussed it with in the days after. As a result, Gustitis asked the jury to find Griffin not guilty.

During later testimony, the prosecution worked to show that just because authorities had not investigated a potential doesn't mean additional charges can't be tacked on later.

Early witnesses focused on the hours leading up to the murder. Griffin and a friend had driven to and from Houston on September 19, 2010. He was eventually dropped off late that night near the Pedernales Drive home of Hailey.

The first police officer on the scene described arriving to find Hailey dead and trying to administer CPR while questioning her son about who had done this.

The boy's grandmother provided emotional testimony of the morning she got the call from Hailey's son saying his mother was dead.


Griffin Capital Murder Trial Begins Monday

By Steve Fullhart -

June 17, 2012

Did Stanley Griffin kill a College Station mother in front of her nine-year-old son? If so, did he commit capital murder? If so, should he die as a result?

These are the questions that could potentially come from Griffin's trial, which begins Monday morning at the Brazos County Courthouse in Bryan with opening arguments. A jury was selected last month.

Early on September 20, 2010, College Station police believe the now-47-year-old entered the Pedernales Drive home of Jennifer Hailey and strangled her to death in her bed, her son watching after walking in on the incident. Griffin later allegedly stabbed the boy three times in his neck in his bedroom with a garden tool. The child survived the attack, and is thought to be the lone witness to his mother's murder.

Griffin was arrested shortly after the crime. Through their investigation, authorities believe the suspect, a homeless man, had asked Hailey if he could live with her, but the 29-year-old had refused.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty, but obviously must gain a conviction from a jury of 11 women and three men -- two of whom are alternates -- before they can argue for the ultimate punishment.

A murder charge can be elevated to a capital level by certain standards under the law, but the attack on Hailey's son does not elevate it. Had the boy died, it would have. Griffin was charged with injury to a child.

State law reads capital murder is the charge if "the person intentionally commits the murder in the course of committing or attempting to commit kidnapping, burglary, robbery, aggravated sexual assault, arson, obstruction or retaliation, or terroristic threat."

The State of Texas will argue Hailey's son was, according to the legal definition, kidnapped by Griffin while inside the home.

If prosecutors can convince jurors Griffin was the murderer but cannot prove to them he kidnapped the boy, the jury would convict the defendant of a lower level of murder, one not punishable by death. For example, first degree murder's punishment is life in prison or between five and 99 years behind bars.

If the jury finds Griffin guilty of capital murder, there are only two punishment options: life in prison without possibility of parole or the death penalty. For the latter to be issued to a defendant, all jurors on the panel must believe he or she will be a danger to others in the future, and that there are no extenuating circumstances that would keep the state from executing him or her, such as mental handicaps.

Griffin would be a free man were the jury to find him not guilty after a trial that has been tentatively scheduled to last no more than two weeks. He has been in the Brazos County jail since his arrest the day of Hailey's death.

Since 1982 when the first Texas execution took place following a period where the practice was considered unconstitutional, 11 defendants convicted in Brazos County have been executed, eighth most of any county in the state.

Currently, there are four people convicted in Brazos County on death row, though Christian Olsen recently had his punishment (not his conviction) overturned by an appeals court. He is awaiting a decision from the district attorney's office as to whether they will seek a new punishment phase to argue for death again. If not, he will automatically receive life in prison without parole and leave death row, where he has been since March 2009.

John Thuesen (on death row since 2010), Marcus Druery (2003) and Carl Blue (1995) are the others from Brazos County awaiting lethal injection. Thuesen has an automatic appeal in progress. Druery is scheduled to die August 1. Blue has no execution date as of yet, but an appeal arguing he was mentally handicapped and ineligible for execution was denied in late 2011.



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