POLICE ARREST TEEN IN SLAYINGS
by Tom Sheehan & Frank Hinche
Scott and Rebecca Grigaliunas were found shot to death in October. Brandon Grigaliunas, Scott’s son, was charged yesterday in their deaths.
A teenager’s desire to ride his father’s racing motorcycle may have led to the slayings of his father and stepmother.
The October day Brandon Grigaliunas’ parents were found fatally shot in their home, the youth had taken the motorcycle to school without permission, possibly prompting a deadly argument, friends said yesterday.
Brandon Grigaliunas, 16, was arrested at Kenton High School about 10 a.m. yesterday and charged with two delinquency counts each of aggravated murder and murder in the Oct. 8 slayings of Scott Grigaliunas, 39, and his 42-year-old wife, Rebecca.
The sophomore is being held at the Marion Juvenile Detention Center, and prosecutors filed court papers yesterday seeking to try him as an adult.
Drag-racing motorcycles was Mr. Grigaliunas’ hobby, and he was a four-time national champion. Brandon was living with his father and stepmother at the time of the killings. Family friends describe him as quiet and friendly.
But in the motion by Hardin County Prosecutor Lora L. Manon seeking an adult trial for Brandon, she said he has a history of failing rehabilitation as a juvenile offender following one or more commitments. No further information was available yesterday about his juvenile record.
Brandon had started to drag-race motorcycles and had won his first race in LaRue, in Marion County, on Labor Day, a family friend said.
But family friends said the motorcycle Brandon took to school that morning was off limits to him. They said he was forbidden to use the motorcycle, which Mr. Grigaliunas raced through Honda’s sponsorship. He was a champion racer in International Drag Bike Association events.
Manon, Police Chief John Vermillion and other authorities are under an order to not discuss details of the case. Common Pleas Judge David Faulkner imposed the order in November at Manon’s request. In a news release yesterday, Manon said the case is so sensitive it requires that details be kept secret. Court records also have been sealed.
All Manon would say yesterday is that the arrest was made after an extensive three-month investigation by the Kenton Police Department with the assistance of Hardin County sheriff’s deputies and the state Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation.
Unless something new develops in the investigation, it is believed the suspect acted alone, she said.
Mr. Grigaliunas and his wife were found dead about 2 p.m. Oct. 8 in the living room of their home 50 miles northwest of Columbus on Champion Court after a friend became worried because they had not shown up for work.
Mr. Grigaliunas worked for Alltel communications. His wife was an office manager at Steve Myers Auto Sales.
Brandon Grigaliunas, 16, is facing delinquency murder charges.
Because of the gag order, Vermillion said he could not comment on a possible motive in the slayings. Vermillion previously had said that several firearms were taken from the home and that Brandon had been fingerprinted.
Relatives of the couple said yesterday that they did not want to discuss Brandon’s arrest. Authorities said he has been living with his mother, Sherry Grigaliunas, in her rural Hardin County home.
Rebecca Grigaliunas was very active in the community and was president of the Kenton Athletic Boosters.
Eleanor Claybaugh, a booster member and a friend of the slain woman’s, said a scholarship fund in the couple’s memory was started in late October by the booster club. So far, $6,200 has been raised.
The club hopes to raise enough money to offer $10,000 in scholarships each spring for selected students at the high school who are going to college, she said.
Claybaugh said Brandon was a member of the high-school golf team his freshman year but was not participating in sports this school year. He has had some academic problems, she said.
“He was quiet, but he was very friendly,” she said.
“They were all one family,” she said of the couple, Brandon and Mrs. Grigaliunas’ grown children from a previous marriage. The couple had married in 1989.
Mike Furbush, sales manager at Steve Myers Auto Sales, wore a black armband with the couple’s name on it yesterday. Other employees were wearing black baseball caps bearing the couple’s names.
They were using the items to help promote the memorial fund, Furbush said. Photographs of the couple also were on display in the dealership.
Rumors of the son’s possible involvement in the killings had been swirling around Kenton for weeks, he said.
He doesn’t know Brandon, he said, and the killings are still a shock.
Family friends said the son attended the couple’s double funeral in October and they were surprised at the time that he showed no emotion.