Jurors won't hear much of accused murderer Scantling's statement to police

Tri-City HeraldJuly 10, 2013 

— A 42-year-old man charged with killing his former fiancee’s roommate in March told police the man “shouldn’t have been there” that morning. Grant W. Scantling got up early and drove from Spokane to Kennewick to confront his ex-girlfriend, according to a transcript of his interview with detectives.

But much of what he told the officers will not be allowed at his trial this fall because detectives kept questioning him after he asked to see a lawyer, after a hearing Wednesday.

During the interview in March, he told police he was mad because two days earlier he’d been turned away from visiting his two kids, ages 5 and 3, and had hoped to take them to lunch.

“Yeah so I was havin’ some real hard problems digesting and dealing with that door being slammed in my face and I went back down this morning, just wanted to see my kids, man,” Scantling said in the transcript. “And he shouldn’t have been there.”

Franklin Palmer was shot several times in the head and the chest. The 24-year-old’s body was found in the hallway of Ann Marie Kreb’s East Eighth Place home.

Krebs — whose 6-year relationship with Scantling ended on Thanksgiving 2012 — reportedly saw the shooting from her bedroom.

Prosecutors claim that after Scantling forced his way into the home and shot Palmer, he pointed the handgun at Krebs’ forehead and threatened to kill her too, before he left.

Krebs has three children, including the two with Scantling. Her 10-year-old son was hit by glass fragments from a shattered window, but wasn’t hurt, court documents said.

On the day of the shooting, Krebs planned to move with her kids to Michigan.

Scantling is charged in Benton County Superior Court with aggravated first-degree murder and first-degree burglary.

He was arrested in Spokane about 10 hours after the fatal shooting.

Kennewick Detectives Wes Gardner and Jason Harrington drove up to Spokane to question Scantling later that night.

In the nearly hourlong interview, Scantling initially said he was willing to answer their questions without a lawyer.

Gardner told Scantling — who reportedly was caught after watching the 5 p.m. newscast at a friend’s home — “obviously you know the reason why we’re here to talk to you.”

But several minutes later, Scantling said he wanted to speak to a lawyer before going into more detail about what happened that morning.

Scantling continued to talk to Gardner and Harrington about his “messed up relationship” with Krebs, his history with Palmer and his drive back to Spokane that afternoon, including running out of gas three times on the trip.

Scantling’s attorneys, Alexandria Sheridan and Scott Johnson, sought to get the statement tossed out of court because it violated his Constitutional rights.

They came to court prepared to argue for the suppression but Prosecutor Andy Miller told Judge Robert Swisher he agreed that everything Scantling said after invoking his right to an attorney is inadmissible in the state’s case.

Miller said he knows that detectives sometimes must make split-second decisions, and he wanted the court to know that he thinks Gardner “made a decision that was right” when he pushed on with the interview.

A copy of a CD with a videotape of the interview will be edited and jurors will only be able to watch the first several minutes, Miller said. The trial is set for Sept. 3.

Scantling confirmed that his statement “was voluntarily made and the officer conducting the interview was acting in good faith.”

Miller added that if Scantling testifies at his trial, prosecutors then can use part or all of the statement for impeachment purposes.

Jurors will hear that Scantling met Krebs in Montana and they moved together to the Tri-Cities five years ago.

He said he’d known the victim, “Frank,” for just as long and in the past had considered him “almost a brother.”

The two buddies had worked together for a Tri-City company doing glass installation in commercial and residential remodeling projects, he said.

But Scantling claims that Palmer slept with Krebs about two weeks after the engaged couple separated.

“(Palmer) consciously drove a wedge between her and I that was — that was very, very difficult to deal with,” he told the detectives. “He made some choices that uh, well that were wrong. I have too.”

Check back for updates.

Kristin M. Kraemer: 582-1531; kkraemer@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @KristinMKraemer

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