Causes Domestic Violence

37 Years & Forever in Heaven

Domestic violence is a cause that is close to my heart.  The words “domestic violence” never entered my mind until my cousin, Monica Payne was murdered by her boyfriend, Jeremy Grissom.

I feel like I owe you all an update regarding the sentencing for Jeremy Grissom, the man who murdered Monica.  This isn’t the post I thought I would be writing though.

I posted back in April to give you all an update when Jeremy entered into a “blind” guilty plea, meaning he would forgo a trial with no deal on the table.  He admitted his guilt and would have to face sentencing from a judge.  He was sentenced last week.

You see, I thought that he would receive the maximum sentence possible for her murder and abuse of her corpse.  I thought ANY judge would look at the facts, at what he did, not only the way he beat her, but the actions he took afterwards to clean up, move her things, and put her in a bag like a piece of trash- I thought any judge would look at that and say “This deserves the maximum punishment allowed by the law.”

As with a lot of things lately, I thought wrong.

Very, very wrong.

Monica Payne

Jeremy Grissom was sentenced to 27 years for her murder and 10 years for abuse of a corpse.

The evidence was all there.  Jeremy’s own father is the person who walked in on the scene and called law enforcement.  Had it not been for Jeremy’s dad, it’s possible we would still be looking for Monica, wondering what happened, and where she could be.  Thankfully, Mr. Grissom did the right thing, probably the hardest thing, but the right thing.  And so, now we know.

We know that Jeremy beat her with an iron bar and with his fists.  We know he cleaned up the house, packed up her belongings, moved her car, wrapped her in tape and plastic, put her in a bag, and planned to get rid of her body.  We know that.

And the judge knows that.

But, I guess all of that is only worth a 37 year prison sentence.

Right now, everyone is reeling from the devastation of such a light sentence for such a heinous crime.  I mean no disrespect to our justice system, but I feel like it failed us this time.  It failed her.  Monica’s mom, Lynda spoke out for the first time in a letter to the Gadsden Times titled “No Justice” because this isn’t justice.  (You’ll see some of my comment there and I promise they did make sense, before the other person deleted their insensitive remarks.)

I also found another letter to the Gadsden Times titled “Why the Sentencing Discrepancy?” and I found it quite interesting.  I am keeping my opinions out of this post, but the discrepancy is there for all to see and I think it speaks for itself.

It’s terrifying, because now I wonder who else is walking these streets?  If you can do what he did and receive 37 years, who am I passing on the street!?

As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t have room in my heart for hatred.  I hate what Jeremy did, I hate that a family is shattered, I hate all of this, but I pray for Jeremy’s soul.  I forgive him for what he did, not for him, he has no idea who I am, but for me.  I can’t live with that weight on my heart, so I forgive him and I pray for him.  I don’t like him and I hope I never see his face, but I forgive him.

I have to, because I cannot allow him to have power over me.  He’s done enough.

From the looks of things, Jeremy is going to have second chance whether I think he deserves it or not, so I will continue praying that he will be a changed man, a man that never hurts anyone again.  That is the only thing I can hold onto after the outcome of his sentencing.

So that’s where things stand.  One day Jeremy will be released- he might get married, he might have children, one day his parents will wrap him in a hug.

Monica will never have any of those things.  Never.

What Jeremy took away can never be replaced, a debt that can never be paid, hearts that can never be mended, a pain that can never be taken away.

37 years could never touch all of that- no amount of time could.  What we must hold onto is the promise of forever, eternal happiness on the other side.  Just thinking about it- seeing Monica surrounded by her family again- it’s a bittersweet thought.  I wish they didn’t have to endure this pain, but I am so thankful that God has given me the promise that one day their family will be complete again.  Forever.

Stop Domestic Violence


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  • Wow well I wish I could say I’m surprised, but I’m not. What happened to your cousin is horrific, and he should have gotten the maximum sentence. However I do not feel our justice system is just (not for families grieving years after a loss) and not when these criminals do a crime that cannot be undone, sit in jail, get to swim, collect income tax, eat three meals a day, see the daylight, exercise, watch television and basically live a life (though confined) a life that the person they hurt will never get to have. It leaves a disgusting taste in my mouth. But God punishes those and we have to faith and heal and yes forgive, because without it you cannot move on. Such a beautiful post — thanks for sharing it!

  • I’m so sorry to hear he didn’t get the sentence he deserved. Keep the faith and know that God is overseeing and the murder’s due will come.

  • It is amazing that there are oversights like this in our system. I pray for continued healing in your family and I love your final thought of the family being complete again one day. So true.

  • Whitney, this is so sad. I can’t believe that such a heinous crime receives such a light punishment. That “man” (and I use that term ONLY in the scientific sense, because he is no MAN) should never walk the streets again. God will give Monica the justice she deserves someday, though.

  • I’m so sorry this happened to your family. Where I live, he would most likely gotten somewhere around 10-12 years, a possible chance for parol and credit for time served.
    Jeremy is lucky he has you to send him prayers and forgiveness, it shows what a kind and heavenly person you are. You bring hope for humankind.

  • This is just horrid and I’m so sorry he didn’t get longer to rot in jail for what he did. Good on you to forgive him so as to not harbor a completely understandable hatred towards him. It would just sap from you and from what the rest of your life should be. Monica would not want you suffering that kind of torture and as you have said he’s already taken enough from you and your family. He will not get out of this completely free. It will start to sink in what he’s done, he will have to live with that reality forever. If you have a strong belief in God, trust that he will give this man exactly what is due him and your cousin’s death will not go unpunished. Hugs to you and your family.

  • I am so sorry for your loss Whitney. I wish I could tell you that his sentence was unusual, that it was just your community. Unfortunately, it is not. Some communities have very harsh domestic violence laws and some do not. it is a crime when an animal being abused recieves more attention and a stiffer sentence than a person being murdered by someone who supposedly loves them.

    I work for a domestic and sexual violence center here in Florida.

  • […] that Kolby was really gone in a post titled Eight Weeks.  It felt like a punch in the gut when Monica’s killer was only sentenced to 37 years total for her murder and abuse of her corpse.  I still don’t understand how that could […]

  • I know it seems like he should have gotten more years (hell, I’d have given him the death penalty), but he will likely serve 85% of that sentence before parole (31 years, give or take). If he’d gotten a “life” sentence, he could have been up for parole in 20.

    I went to school with Monica, from kindergarten through twelfth grade. She was the sweetest girl one could imagine. She was a friend to everyone, and I never heard anyone say anything bad about her–or HER say anything bad about anyone else.

    I suppose it really doesn’t matter if the guy is out in 31 years, because there’s a good chance someone who knew and loved her will be waiting for him, with a lead pipe… is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to