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Murder accessory guilty of uttering threats

A 27-year-old man convicted four years ago for accessory after the fact to a brutal murder was convicted this week of uttering death threats.

A 27-year-old man convicted four years ago for accessory after the fact to a brutal murder was convicted this week of uttering death threats.

Kyle Grapentine, 27, was found guilty Monday of a single count of uttering threats to cause death and was sentenced to six months in jail and two years of probation.

Grapentine was one of four men who plead guilty in 2008 for their part in the gruesome dismemberment of former St. Albert resident David Wong.

Police officers broke in on the four in an Edmonton apartment building after a tenant below noticed blood coming through the ceiling and called police.

Grapentine was convicted of this latest charge after a short trial Monday afternoon concluded he had threatened a young man through two phone calls, including at least one made while he was in prison.

The victim testified he knew Grapentine socially through mutual friends and said he recognized his voice when he received the calls last summer.

He said other than second-hand rumours, he did not know why Grapentine was angry and threatening him.

Two calls

He testified he began receiving phone calls from a phone number he did not recognize and after initially ignoring them, he answered. Grapentine was on the other end of the line.

He said Grapentine said he was getting out of prison soon and the victim would be "done" or "dusted."

He said he took the words as a clear threat on his life.

The man testified he later received text messages, which were less explicit, but also strongly suggested Grapentine intended to harm him.

He then received the second call, this time from a different phone number but with a similar message. The witness said again the implication was he would be killed and end up a "red stain on the pavement."

During his cross-examination and closing argument, defence lawyer Angus Boyd pointed out several inconsistencies in the witnesses' statements as well as potential flaws in the police investigation.

Among the problems Boyd noted was the officer had not tracked down either of the phone numbers used to make the calls.

The officer testified she obtained information on the first number, connecting it to an unrelated person, but not actually calling the number to determine who possessed the phone.

The officer testified she had not identified who owned the phone used to call in the second threat.

Boyd also pointed out the first phone call was made while Grapentine was still in custody.

"We don't have any confirmation from the police officer that that number is associated with Mr. Grapentine," argued Boyd.

Boyd also cited several inconsistencies in the victim's testimony and statements to police, including an inaccuracy about when Grapentine and the young man first met.

Crown prosecutor Bill Wister suggested the inaccuracies were minor and not relevant to the important issue of whether the calls were made.

He said the victim had been a direct and straightforward witness and while one of the phone calls might have been made while Grapentine was in custody, that was no reason to assume he did not make the call.

"There is no evidence before the court that it was an impossibility that he made that call."

Judge Bruce Garriock ultimately determined none of the inconsistencies or lingering questions rose to meet the standard of reasonable doubt, adding he believed the victim's testimony.

"[He] testified that in both these calls he recognized the accused's voice," said Garriock. "I am not prepared to discount his testimony to the extent Mr. Boyd would want me to."


The case proceeded directly to sentencing following the conviction and Wister asked the court to consider a lengthy jail sentence of 12 to 14 months.

He also wanted to see Grapentine serve three years of probation following his release.

Boyd argued for a one-day sentence, arguing the threats were minor and did not lead to any actual violence. He said Grapentine had already been punished because his parole was suspended and he was returned to prison after his arrest.

Wister said given Grapentine's previous conviction, no threat he could have made could be viewed as benign.

"It is simply not a situation where you can say these were idle threats."

Boyd said while taking into account the record, the court had to sentence Grapentine on the charge at hand.

"It is difficult to assess whether he is being sentenced for this crime or a previous one."

In passing down the sentence, Garriock said he had to consider it an aggravating factor that the first call was placed while Grapentine was still in prison.

"At least one of these calls originates when Mr. Grapentine is still in custody."

Grapentine's probation will begin when he is released from prison. He will have to report regularly to a probation officer as well as have no contact with the victim.

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