Woman describes alleged assault in Scantling murder trial

Kristin M. Kraemer, Tri-City HeraldSeptember 9, 2013 

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Ann Krebs took the stand Monday in the murder trial of her former boyfriend Grant Scantling. He's accused of breaking into her home in March and killing her roommate and threatening Krebs with a gun. The trial started last week.

KAI-HUEI YAU — Tri-City Herald Buy Photo

When Grant Scantling showed up at a Kennewick home on March 19 to visit his two young kids, his former fiancee said she freaked out and slammed the door in his face.

Ann Marie Krebs said that just two minutes earlier she had replied to a text message from her ex, saying, "We can't fool ourselves. (It's) not going to work."

Scantling gave no indication he had driven down from Spokane and was in town, she said.

Later that night, Krebs sent him another text: "Sorry slammed door in your face but if you had called it would have been a totally different reaction if I'd known you was coming."

Krebs testified Monday about an incident that's believed to have triggered Scantling's alleged actions on March 22, when witnesses said he broke into the East Eighth Place home and assaulted Krebs before fatally shooting her roommate.

Scantling, 42, is on trial in Benton County Superior Court for the early morning break-in and the death of Franklin Palmer.

Scantling and Palmer, 24, used to work together and Scantling said the victim had been "a real good brother of mine." He claimed his buddy slept with Krebs two weeks after the two ended their six-year relationship in November.

Krebs has two children with Scantling, along with an older son. She was planning to move to Michigan the day Palmer was killed.

Scantling is charged with aggravated first-degree murder and first-degree burglary.

His trial started Sept. 3 and the first testimony was given Friday, a day after the jury was picked and heard the prosecution's opening statement.

The trial was expected to last three weeks, but Prosecutor Andy Miller told the court Monday that the state is ready to wrap up its case aside from one more potential witness.

Defense attorneys Scott Johnson and Alexandria Sheridan said they weren't planning to call their witnesses until Thursday.

After a brief recess to see if schedules could be rearranged, Johnson told the court they could be ready Wednesday. He added that the defense may give an opening statement then, but said their case would depend on what came out of an interview later Monday with a jail inmate who recently claimed he had a detailed conversation with Scantling about the crime.

Judge Robert Swisher decided not to bring the 14-member panel in Tuesday for one witness. So, after the jury had been excused Monday, he instructed the jury clerk to call them and say the trial is in recess Tuesday and will resume Wednesday morning.

Michael Billado took the stand Monday to say he was trying to save a woman from being beaten when he tried to intervene, only to have his friend shot and killed.

Billado previously told Kennewick detectives he wouldn't testify at trial, so he was held in jail last month on a material witness warrant after an unrelated arrest for shoplifting. He was released from jail once he gave a deposition in court, just in case he didn't show as promised.

Billado said he had been sleeping on the couch and, after coming out of the bathroom, woke up Palmer because he saw an intruder in the house. Palmer was sleeping in a second bedroom.

Billado then turned around and realized it was Scantling who was on top of Krebs, yelling and hitting her while saying, "This wouldn't have happened if you'd let me see my kids."

The Pasco man said after he took a half-step into the bedroom and asked Scantling what he was doing, Scantling jumped off the bed, cocked back his pistol and said, "F--- you" to both Billado and Palmer as he fired one shot.

Billado said Scantling was three feet away facing him when he saw a flash from the barrel and ducked. He ran down the hall and out the front door, and thought Palmer was right behind him as he heard two more shots.

Billado further told jurors it was only after he got out of the house that he realized Palmer wasn't with him. He made a quick call to 911, only giving the address and that an ambulance was needed.

He said he was trying to process what had just happened and where he was going to go when Scantling left the house about four or five minutes after the initial shot, drove down the street in a Jeep Cherokee and yelled to Billado -- standing about three homes down -- "That's what happens when you f--- with someone's wife."

Billado claims Scantling then let off another shot, though he doesn't know if it was directed at him or just into the air.

Dr. Carl Wigren, a forensic pathologist who performed the autopsy, said Palmer had a total six gunshot wounds -- three entries and three exits.

Palmer was shot in the chest, the bottom lip and below his right ear. Wigren said the second and third shots went through Palmer's head and either one could have caused immediate paralysis.

Krebs testified that she didn't tell her ex she was leaving town with the kids, but said it was obvious with a moving truck in front of the house and multiple packed boxes.

She said immediately after hearing a loud crash at the sliding glass door, she awoke to find Scantling on top of her with a hand on her neck and a gun on her forehead.

"He was yelling a lot but I really don't remember much of what he was saying," Krebs said. She had her eyes closed through some of it and doesn't know what exactly distracted Scantling, but then she heard a shot and he took off down the hallway.

Krebs said she saw Palmer fall into an open linen closet. Scantling eventually returned to the bedroom and said none of it would have happened if she hadn't slammed the door in his face earlier that week, she testified.

The two went into the living room away from the kids and Krebs said she was screaming as Scantling pushed her into a TV, knocking it over. Then he put the gun to his own head, Krebs said, told her "'I've got one bullet for you and one bullet for myself,' something close to that," and left.

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

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