Elderly inmate denied clemency for his role in five Seattle murders

By | December 7, 2012 | 0 Comments

In a closely split decision, the board that makes pardon recommendations to Gov. Chris Gregoire denied a request from a man who was present more than 30 years ago when five people were murdered in Seattle, including two small children who were shot execution-style in the head.

Henry Grisby and his friend Raymond Frazier went to an apartment in March 1978 to confront people whom Frazier believed sold him bad heroin. Frazier then shot Grisby and six people in the apartment, including a 5-year old boy and 3-year old girl who was hiding in a closet.

One survivor testified that it was Grisby who shot him. Grisby denied it, but both he and Frazier were sentenced to life without parole.

A polygraph test showing that Grisby was telling the truth prompted the former prosecutor in the case, Roy Howson, to make the highly unusual move of asking for Grisby’s clemency in 2006, which the state Clemency and Pardons Board denied.

On Friday, longtime appeals lawyer and Washington Supreme Court justice-elect Sheryl Gordon McCloud asked the board to reconsider.

Grisby is 72 and in poor health. He’s a role model and mentor to young inmates, including one who calls him “dad,” McCloud said.

“I don’t think anybody believes he poses a threat to anyone today,” McCloud said.