Man gets 15-year prison sentence in Terrace Heights murder case

Man gets 15-year prison sentence in Terrace Heights murder case

YAKIMA, Wash. - A Moses Lake man is sentenced to 15 years in prison for the shooting death of a Wapato art teacher five years ago.

Marty Grismer was sentenced January 8 after he took a plea deal in the murder case of Desiree Sunford.

Investigators said Sunford was shot multiple times in her Terrace Heights home in April 2013.

This case was set to go to a jury trial but the state offered a plea deal to Grismer at the last minute, due to uncertainty in some of their witnesses, specifically Desiree's husband Scott.

Prosecuting Attorney Troy Clements said Scott was having an affair with another woman named Paige. He said Grismer killed Desiree because he was in love with Paige and wanted to frame Scott for murder to be with her.

"Marty confessed to Jesse Castillo which the state believes was the real motive which was to frame Scott Sunford," Clements said. "The evidence would have shown that Mr. Marty Grismer was obsessed with Paige."

Clements said they learned this information from Grismer's cell mate but he refused to testify during the trial. Clements did not want there to be a chance to let Grismer get off easy so he thought a plea was the best option for the state.

Desiree's mother Connie Kast spoke at the sentencing and asked the judge to give Grismer the harshest sentence possible.

She said no one will ever know what she is going through.

"People did tell me they know how I feel, you have no idea how I feel," Kast said. "I don't want you to know how I feel because no one should have to deal with this type of pain."

Before accepting the sentence, the judge said the court was not comfortable with the agreement and didn't think it was a proper resolution but he was unsure of what the outcome of a jury trial would be so he accepted it.

"The court is going to go along with the resolution in this case, I will sentence you to a term of 15 years with the state department of corrections," Judge Richard Bartheld said. "If I had any authority, I would make sure that you went to the harshest prison in the state of Washington but that is not within my authority."

The defense said this was a very complex case but they were ready to go to a jury trial until approached by the state. They also said this plea does not mean that Grismer is admitting to the crime he just agreed to plead guilty because of the uncertainty of a jury trial.

Grismer's trial had been pushed back multiple times throughout the investigation.

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