Click photo to enlarge

A Lafayette teen who admitted to police that he stabbed his girlfriend's mother to death is discussing a plea deal with Boulder County prosecutors that would spare him a lifetime prison sentence.

Bryan Grove, 18, had been scheduled to enter a not-guilty plea Friday to first-degree murder in connection with the February slaying of Lafayette resident Linda Damm, 52.

Instead, Grove's attorneys asked for more time to talk with prosecutors, who agreed that a delay would be appropriate.

Tess Damm, the victim's 16-year-old daughter, also is charged with first-degree murder and is accused of plotting with Grove to kill her mother. She pleaded not guilty during Friday's brief hearing. Her case was set for trial Feb. 18.

After the hearing, Linda Damm's brother, John Schueller, and his partner, Dennis Comeau, met with prosecutors and emerged from the Boulder County Justice Center with puzzled looks on their faces.

Comeau said they were letting the possibility of a second-degree murder conviction for Grove "soak in" before forming an opinion. He said that prosecutors talked about Grove's age at the time of the crime as a factor for the possible deal.

"We're confused," Comeau said.

Grove's father, Kenneth Grove, said a deal was a possibility, but since his son is now an adult, he is not privy to his discussions with public defenders.

Two other co-defendants already have accepted plea deals in exchange for their testimony against Damm and Grove.

Damm's attorney, Beth Kelley, said that she has not received any offer from the district attorney's office, and that Friday's events in court had her "a little concerned."

Public defender Seth Temin, in asking that Grove's hearing be delayed until Oct. 16, told the court that he was in discussions with prosecutors.

"We're waiting for them to do certain things they need to do to continue those discussions," Temin said. "It doesn't make sense to set the case for trial at this moment."

Deputy District Attorney Adrian Vannice agreed.

"It's appropriate to reset this for a few weeks," she told the court.

Prosecutor Karen Peters told the court that the Colorado Bureau of Investigation had concluded its DNA testing in the case, but agents still are waiting on fingerprint analysis.

Grove and Damm are charged as adults and would face life in prison if convicted of first-degree murder. Second-degree murder carries a sentencing range of 16 to 48 years in prison.

Boulder County District Attorney Mary Lacy said she wouldn't discuss any plea negotiations in an open case.

Karen Steinhauser, adjunct professor at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law and former Denver prosecutor, said homicides that involve a person acting at the request of another oftentimes require prosecutors to "make a deal with the devil."

"The best line we used with jurors is 'Crimes committed in Hell don't have angels as witnesses,'" Steinhauser said. "It comes down to making choices of who do we want to get for first-degree murder and what do we want to do to get that conviction."

Police found Linda Damm's decaying body in the back of a Subaru in the garage of her Lafayette home on Feb. 28 after receiving an anonymous tip. The body had been left there for several weeks after Grove stabbed the woman to death in her bedroom, police allege.

Tess Damm told authorities that her mother was an abusive alcoholic, and her boyfriend Grove - who had moved into the home at 705 W. Brome Place - said he would take care of the problem, according to police reports.

A friend of the teens, Jared Smith, 17, pleaded guilty to a juvenile charge of accessory and is serving a two-year sentence in juvenile prison for helping move Damm's body from her bedroom to the car. He told police that the couple discussed the homicide during a late-night meal at IHOP.

Smith told investigators he and Damm then dropped Grove off at the home and drove around while the slaying took place.

Another friend, Jared Guy, 19, was sentenced last week to work release followed by electronic home monitoring and probation after pleading guilty to tampering for helping try to dispose of Damm's body at a dump and a cemetery.

Contact Camera Staff Writer Christine Reid at 303-473-1355 or reidc@dailycamera.com.

Damm homicide suspects

Tess Damm, 16

Daughter of victim, Linda Damm

Accused of plotting to kill her mother

Charged as adult with first-degree murder

Pleaded not guilty on Friday, trial set for Feb. 18

Bryan Grove, 18

Tess Damm's live-in boyfriend

Accused of stabbing Linda Damm to death

Charged as adult with first-degree murder

Plea hearing on Friday delayed to Oct. 16, in talks for possible plea deal

Jared Smith, 17

Grove's friend

Accused of being with Grove and Tess Damm while they plotted to kill Linda Damm

Pleaded guilty to juvenile charge of accessory

Serving two-year sentence in juvenile prison

Jared Guy, 19

Grove's friend

Accused of helping Grove try to dump Linda Damm's body

Pleaded guilty to felony tampering

Sentenced to work release, electronic home monitoring and probation

Source: Boulder County court records, Camera archives

Archived comments

The Magical Land Of Plea Bargain...........SUCH bullcrap!

RingTail81

9/29/2007 2:40:54 AM

This is ridiculous beyond words. He admitted it!! Stabbed her to death with his own two hands!! To plea bargain with this cold-blooded killer is unbelievable!! Mary Lacy and her whole staff should be embarrassed, like the rest of us.

Fly182

9/29/2007 4:33:30 AM

Unbelievable!

tishba@msn.com

9/29/2007 7:02:47 AM

"Mary Lacy and her whole staff should be embarrassed, like the rest of us."

Oh, there is no doubt about that, probably enough to force her to run for higher office.

driveby_poster

9/29/2007 8:07:44 AM

NO PLEA DEAL! Unbelievable.

same@same.net

9/29/2007 10:11:19 AM

So there going to give a deal to the guy who actually admitted that he commited the murder and then send Tess Damm to prison for life. Now

that's fair. NOT

xman2000@zoomnet.net

9/29/2007 12:40:00 PM

I can't believe that people actually spend their day trying to get a reduced sentence for people (if you can even call them that) who have done what these two have. Look at them. The guy is a Neanderthal and the girl looks drugged out. Why aren't we spending more time protecting people that are outside the prison?

tfitzjake@charter.net

9/29/2007 10:07:06 PM

So just because Grove said that she told him to do it does not mean she did. He also could have said no. If they don't give a deal to Tess Damm then they should not give one to Grove either.He killed her and so he should get the worst punishment.

xman2000@zoomnet.net

9/29/2007 11:05:28 PM

I think these little jackasses should cry me a frigging river and then go drown in it. There should be no plea bargain for for what they did.

RingTail81

9/30/2007 3:45:58 AM

Look at her picture. She doesn't look 16 anymore. Gee, jail must be tough when you talked some idiots into killing your mother and then dragging her dead body all over town a couple times and burying and re-burying her and THEN digging her up and putting her in her car in the garage to rot.

NO PITY HERE.

Stupid little B*tch

NO PLEA BARGAIN

RingTail81

9/29/2007 9:16:19 PM

Ah, the truth hurts, huh?

RingTail81

10/1/2007 7:21:26 PM

Be nice to your children in Boulder County. They are allowed to kill you and then play Hide-The-Body with your corpse and they never go to jail.

And if you think a lot of idiotic and disgruntled kids haven't taken notice of this case you better think again.

RingTail81

10/2/2007 1:48:32 AM

Failure to report a death.... a CRIME.

Abuse of a corpse... (not just once, but TWICE -- bury her, un-bury her, bury her again, do I go on ?)..........a CRIME.

"Jared Guy, 19, Grove's friend, Accused of helping Grove try to dump Linda Damm's body,

Pleaded guilty to felony tampering.

Sentenced to work release, electronic home monitoring and probation"

WORK RELEASE ?????

Where is American JUSTICE ?

If Jared Guy were in ANY other country, he would be spending LIFE in prison, maybe even received worse. WHO wants Jared Guy as THEIR son-in-law ? NOT ME ! ! !

He will abuse your corpse, (already proven he HAS done this) Probation for this ??? PATHETIC ! ! !

Let's set an example for other kids who get mad at their parents, it's OK to kill your parents, and you will be given a pity party.

Poor Baby... you were SO mistreated, its ok you killed your mom and dad.....

Everyone involved should be spending LIFE in prison!

Is Boulder County CHICKEN to stand up to what's right ?

Sounds that way.

Boulder County is setting legal precedence that will allow kids to get upset at their parents, kill them, and be allowed by law to walk away with no consequence. Remember when it was OK to spank your kids when they did wrong ? I DO, that was a generation where kids obeyed parents. We were brought up to be good, decent, law-abiding people. NOW, the whole world has changed. Parents are not allowed to discipline our kids, the law as intervened. Any parent accused with disciplining a child is charged with abuse. And the kid turns out like Tess.

Bring back the days when parents had rights and their kids had NO right to put a "contractâ out on their parents.

One of the 10 commandments is ...

Obey your mother and father that you may live a long life.

WHO WILL DENY THIS TRUTH ?

Demented_Dwarf

10/2/2007 2:08:35 AM

After reading about this possible plea bargaining, I believe it should be unacceptable. I couldn't believe two kids killed one of their mothers and partied every day and didn't show any guilt. In addition, if one of motive was to sell her house to get a more expensive her, how does Tess know she would be qualified to get a more expensive one? I got this information by listening to the local news a couple months ago. She was listening to her boyfriend that probably used her to get what he needed. Both of these kids should be treated as adults since they committed adult crime. No plea bargaining please!!!

phn289

10/9/2007 4:04:29 PM