Suspect's only regret: not calling cops
Suspect's only regret: not calling cops
Brownlow says he was there, didn't kill girl in '80
By John Aguilar, Rocky Mountain News
August 2, 2005
BRIGHTON - Troy Brownlow said he was there when a teenage girl from Adams County was stabbed to death nearly 25 years ago. But Brownlow insists the only thing he did wrong was keeping quiet about what he saw the day 15-year-old Nanine Grimes died. "I spent 25 years regretting not making a phone call," said Brownlow, who broke his silence during a recent interview in the jail where he is being held in Grimes' murder.
He was arrested in April after old blood samples from the Grimes' home matched DNA taken from Brownlow at an Arizona prison.
Brownlow vaguely sketched out the events of Sept. 4, 1980 - the day Grimes was found partially submerged in a punctured waterbed mattress, dead from more than 80 stab wounds.
Brownlow said he was at the Grimes' home not "by design" but rather was "sucked into this thing."
He talked about a chaotic afternoon that included his bolting out the back door and vaulting over a 6-foot-high backyard fence.
"I don't remember ever hitting wood - I thought I flew over that fence," he said.
Bleeding and frightened, Brownlow said he paused at a concrete ledge across the street to look back at the house.
A large man he didn't know came out the back door, said Brownlow.
Brownlow wouldn't discuss what he saw in the house but said he ran for his life.
"A big crazed maniac and a little 16-year-old kid. Who wins? It was fight or flight," Brownlow said from the Adams County Detention Facility, where he's being held.
Brownlow doesn't dispute that it's his blood that was found in and around the Grimes' house, but he insists that he's not the killer.
"What was my motive?" the 41-year-old father of four asked. "I hope that would trouble investigators in this case. Why would I kill Nanine Grimes?"
Will save details
Brownlow said he didn't know the victim well, even though he lived less than a half-mile from her home at the corner of West 83rd Place and Acoma Street.
Deanna Grimes, Nanine's older sister and a classmate of Brownlow's at Thornton High, was at most a casual friend, he said.
"Deanna certainly didn't like me that way and I certainly didn't like her that way," Brownlow said about whether he ever dated Nanine's sister.
Brownlow said he had been over to the sisters' house on several occasions, but only to accompany a couple of buddies whom he described as "smitten" with Deanna, then 16.
Brownlow said he was walking near the Grimes' home the day of the slaying, but wouldn't explain how he wound up inside, saying he would save those details for trial.
But he did say an older male was at the house that afternoon - a "rough and tumble type" and a "good-sized dude." Brownlow also said while he didn't witness the killing, he did try to prevent it.
Brownlow's lawyer, Chris Decker, told a judge at a hearing last month that Brownlow said he "walked in on something he couldn't stop."
Brownlow said one of his biggest regrets was not contacting police even after he heard a rumor that someone had been arrested in the case.
He also said he wished he had told Deanna Grimes that he was "sorry for being a coward and running."
But Brownlow said fear, mixed with youthful naivete, caused his silence. Though he's now convinced his actions that day were not criminal and plans to plead not guilty during an arraignment scheduled today, Brownlow said he worried for years about his role in what happened.
Despite Brownlow's claims, prosecutors in Adams County think they have a strong enough case to charge the ex-Marine and longtime YMCA program director with first-degree murder.
Attorneys on both sides are under a gag order.
However, prosecutors were clearly pleased when they first announced in April that blood samples from the crime scene, resubmitted to a national DNA database as part of a cold-case review, matched a genetic sample collected from Brownlow upon his 2004 release from an Arizona prison.
From the DNA analysis, it was determined that Brownlow's blood was present throughout the crime scene, including on the headboard of the bed where Grimes was found, a hose in the backyard, a couple of sinks, the wooden fence, and the concrete ledge across the street.
He was arrested in Tucson and promptly extradited to Colorado.
"Being accused of a crime like this has flipped my world upside down," Brownlow said.
And he doesn't always feel he's getting a fair shake from prosecutors.
He cites what he says is mishandled evidence, such as the mattress upon which Grimes was found that is now missing.
Or what Brownlow calls a "taunting letter" - which he says was determined by a handwriting expert not to be his - also misplaced.
Prosecutors have acknowledged the missing mattress but haven't commented on the letter.
Brownlow also said a police report noted that a "white handkerchief type cloth" was placed over Grimes' chest.
He said such a move might be expected from a cold-blooded murderer leaving a "calling card," but not from a scrawny high school kid.
Brownlow passes his days in the maximum-security wing of the county jail playing cards, writing poetry and reading into the early-morning hours.
He admits he's no angel.
After years of drug and alcohol abuse, Brownlow spent two years in prison in Arizona for burglary and also did time behind bars in Arapahoe County for firing a bullet into the wall of an ex-lover's house.
But he said he had straightened out his life, living with his girlfriend in Tucson and becoming a personal trainer at a gym.
He awaits the day he can meet his 2-month-old daughter, born shortly after he was picked up by police.
But Brownlow's top priority is beating the murder charge.
He said he looks forward to presenting four pieces of evidence, which he declined to talk about. He said the evidence will create enough reasonable doubt for jurors to acquit him. "When all is said and done and I can address some issues, I don't think (the jury) in good conscience will have a choice," he said.
Last edited by Royalpurple209 : 08-03-2005 at 12:50 AM.
Troy Brownlow, arrested in April, will be arraigned today.
Troy Brownlow Family ©
Troy Brownlow, the man accused of killing Nanine Grimes, is pictured in 2004 in Bisbee, Ariz., with daughter Taylorae Elizabeth Brownlow; stepson Joshua Bernard Kurtz, middle; and son Trent James Brownlow.
Nanine Grimes was found dead Sept. 4, 1980, with more than 80 stab wounds.
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