Thirty-two-year-old Kira Simonian was found brutally murdered in her apartment in South Minneapolis late last June. Her husband Matthew Gretz, age 34, was out of town at the time, on a business trip. As local Minneapolis media seemed to drop the story and police didn’t seem concerned that a mad-dog killer was on the loose, some suspicion fell on Matthew Gretz. After all, as far back as 2004, Gretz wrote the following on one of Kira’s personal profiles:
Posted 02/14/2004 1:22 PMChances are, Kira doesn’t like you. You see, she’s a picky bird, one who doesn’t fawn over the latest reality shows or kowtow to the powers that be. No, she’s an *artist*. So she’s allowed to wear as much black as she wants and criticize stuff that sucks. If it wasn’t for Kira, pathetic losers wouldn’t realize their lot in life and those of us lucky enough to serve as her muse are able to live a much more rewarding life…
A joke between lovers, or an ugly streak in Gretz coming out in a random comment?Might have been the latter. Matthew Lawrence Gretz is now being held in the Hennepin County Jail in Minneapolis on a murder charge. Police have found, after two months, probable cause to arrest and hold Gretz in connection with his wife’s murder. No bail has been set. Commentators on the first CrimeBlog.US entry who claimed to know Matt couldn’t believe he’d murder anyone. Quoting from “wondering”:
I do wish that people here would stop saying directly or indirectly it’s Matt that did this to his wife. Please find another theory. Rule out statistics for one minute to see something else. I think there’s something here that no one is seeing…
It might be easy to roll your eyes at posts like that now that Gretz has been arrested, but it is likely he did seem to those who thought they knew him like the last person in the world who would brutally murder another. Killer spouses break down into several subtypes, and one type is almost always outwardly likable, easy to know, and hard to accuse. Scott Peterson fit that bill pretty well. To this day, even though Peterson is on death row, he has legions of defenders.Reading Matt’s comment on Kira’s Friendster profile from 3 years ago, one gets the impression of a burst of passive-aggressive anger on his part, one he dealt with by making that comment. He could have told Kira later that he was just joking — the comment can be read that way. If that was the case then, a pattern of passive-aggressive outbursts from Matt wouldn’t have changed. He would have continued to store up anger, hurt, resentment, only to perhaps explode on his wife when he had no space left inside. Kira’s art, even the brief video of her on the first blog entry give an impression of real personal force, charisma. Theirs may have been a passionate match, but one ultimately more volatile than anyone knew, until it was too late. Thanks to CrimeBlog.US commentator “lackman” for the heads-up about Matt’s arrest.
*UPDATE 1*From KARE-TV — emphasis was added:
[We] can tell you that police say they are certain Kira’s husband killed her 10 weeks ago.“There is a lot of forensic evidence in this case and the evidence is very very solid,” Chief [Tim] Dolan said. [. . .] Police say she died from complex homicidal violence. Lt. Amelia Huffman says that means there was more than one kind of violence responsible for her death…
A crime, from the sound of it, of unbridled rage. Or perhaps it might be more accurate to say rage finally unleashed.
*UPDATE 2, 9/09/07*
This update should have been made yesterday (Sept. 8). I knew that when a particular quote from a news article about the arrest of Matt Gretz was plaguing me still this evening. The following is from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, an article published Sept. 7, titled “Arrest recasts perceptions,” by David Chanen:
Friends and family members could only speculate about why Gretz might have stabbed his wife 15 times in the chest and neck, and smashed her head with a hammer on June 28, as authorities allege. According to the charges, during the attack, he chased her around their south Minneapolis apartment screaming, “Do you love me?”
I’ll never claim to be an expert profiler, but I have made some damned good conclusions in the past. I won’t bother linking the proof — long-time readers of my crime-related blogging will know what I’m talking about. So… I’m no expert, but the quote above, if true, gives me the impression that Matthew Gretz (if he did indeed kill Kira Simonian) may have had an intensely passive-aggressive personality. Bludgeoning and stabbing Kira to death was overkill, and the number and severity of wounds described indicated immense anger. That someone may have heard him shouting, “Do you love me?” is both chilling and further indication that Kira’s murder may have been the result of a long-simmering explosion.Kira Simonian may have been a forthright, outspoken woman. The comment Matt left on her Friendster account (see above) years ago suggested part of the way he viewed her, at least sometimes — as superior, arrogant, a snob. If no one ever saw any real signs of trouble between the two, it may have been because it seemed to outsiders that Kira “wore the pants,” and Matt went along with her, thinking life was easier that way. I am reminded of a high-profile crime from my hometown, Nashville. Janet March vanished in 1996. She’s never been found. Still, her husband Perry March is now serving 56 years in prison for her murder. His own dad ratted him out, in the end. In the March family, it was said that Janet called the shots. She designed the home she and Perry shared in West Nashville, Perry even worked for the law firm run by Janet’s father. But it seems that in the end, Perry just lost it on her. Police in Nashville think he may have killed her with a karate blow — Perry was a blackbelt. I have to wonder if the dynamic in the Simonian/Gretz home was similar to the Marches’. And perhaps something between them finally broke Matt down, and he erupted. After reading the words Matt Gretz was allegedly shouting, I recalled this comment by “Interested” left on the first entry I wrote about Kira’s murder. Part of what “Interested” wrote on August 31, 2007:
I apologize if I make anyone angry but I am going to just say it. From whatI know of what happened on Wed morning between 5:00-5:30am I think Matt is the killer. If itâ€™s not him then it is someone that wanted Kira to love him. It is a male and it very important to that person that Kira â€œlove meâ€. I think Matt is very busy building a defense…
It is sometimes easy for other blog readers, and admittedly the blogger himself (me) to not take blog comments too seriously. It’s a hazard of blogging a lot — one becomes jaded about statements made by anonymous folks who may or may not have an agenda. Here, it seems that “Interested” had an inside line into the real story more than a week ago, and the “love me” statement was already known.You have to wonder what made Matt say those words, if he did. I have a feeling that what went on between Matthew Gretz and Kira Simonian was far more complicated than anyone around them really knew. Thank you to everyone who posted on that entry and this one (so far), including “Interested.” For reading, participating, and inadvertently reminding me that I can get a little numb to all the words that come my way daily. CAMILLE CLEVERLEY Camille Cleverley, 22, was preparing to start the school year at Brigham Young University in Provo, UT when she disappeared on August 30, 2007. Even though no one has seen Camille since the 30th, her bank card was used the next day to buy doughnuts and energy drinks. By all accounts, Camille Cleverley has always been a responsible young woman and a good student. No one in her family thinks 5’5″, 110 lb. blue-eyed blond would leave with only her purple and silver Schwinn for transportation. Camille was dating a man named David Sperry, and there hasn’t been any suspicion expressed in the traditional media towards Mr. Sperry. He’s appeared on NBC’s Today and his behavior seemed appropriate. Sperry seemed as worried as Camille’s relatives, just as any boyfriend would be. There is, however, a message board discussion taking place here that contains some interesting statements about Mr. Sperry. It’s a message board. I read many message boards, and often enjoy posting to them, but… it’s a message board attached to the web site for TV station KSL in Salt Lake City. Take anything posted there with a full shaker of salt. A MySpace has been set up by Camille’s friends and family: http://www.myspace.com/helpfindcamille. Mainstream media link: Fox News/AP, “Police Eye Debit Card Transaction in Case of Missing Brigham Young University Student.”
Sadly, it appears that Camille Cleverley’s body has been found. From the AP:
The body was found in Provo Canyon, said sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Spencer Cannon. Authorities were trying to confirm the woman’s identity, but Cannon said investigators believed it was Cleverley, a 22-year-old senior from Boise, Idaho.
Authorities had not determined by about 5 p.m. Sunday how Cleverley died but said she succumbed to her injuries.“The fall distance was considerable,” Tracy said. “At this point and time it appears that a fall was involved.” Tracy said that a team of detectives will look over the scene tonight. However, until their investigation is complete and a coroner’s report is finished, officials won’t rule out anything, including suicide and foul play…
THE MURDER OF MIA HENDERSONA strange story is coming out of Tucson, Arizona tonight. Two 18-year-old female freshmen fought in a dorm room at the University of Arizona on Wednesday, September 5. Both were from the Navajo Nation. One was treated at a hospital for mild injuries. The other died. The deceased was identified as freshman Mia Henderson. In the fight with her former roommate, Mia was allegedly stabbed to death. The young woman who now stands charged with Mia’s murder is Galareka Harrison. The fight may have been the end result of tension that developed between the pair in their first week or so rooming together. Mia Henderson believed that Harrison was stealing from her. She’d reported the alleged thefts on August 28. Mia’s MySpace profile has already been referenced in various reports about the crime: http://www.myspace.com/mighty_mia. Galareka Harrison’s own profile: http://www.myspace.com/231429967. Galareka also had a personal profile at Tagged.com, as well as a Flixster account:
The way Galareka Harrison allegedly murdered Mia Henderson was truly bizarre. From KPHO, the CBS affiliate in Phoenix, AZ:
A probable cause statement filed Thursday by another university detective said that Harrison bought a knife on her return to campus, then wrote a note pretending to be Henderson, saying she had falsely accused her roommate and “mentioned ending her own life.” Harrison then stabbed Henderson numerous times as she slept, according to a statement from Detective Mario Leon…
All of this was apparently an outgrowth of enmity between Harrison and Henderson that began when Henderson accused Galareka Harrison of stealing. These accusations are detailed in the same article:
Henderson had filed a report with police last week accusing Harrison of theft and forgery, citing the cards, which she said she saw sticking out of Harrison’s wallet. She also said that a $500 check that she did not authorize had been cashed.
[A personal, non-crime-related note: I am in mourning. Luciano Pavarotti has passed away in Italy at the age of 71.]