The Daily Beast Covers the Henry Granju Case

You can read the whole thing, but I’d like to draw your attention to this:

John Gill, special counsel for the Knox County District Attorney’s Office, wrote in an email to The Daily Beast: “It has been somewhat frustrating that the media has seemed to accept everything from a grieving mother without law-enforcement experience as an accurate assessment of the law… My office and the Knox Co. Sheriff’s Department has conducted an exhaustive investigation and have pursued all possible outcomes under the facts and the law. At some point all the info about the case will be public record.”

Now, you’d think John Gill would, oh, you know, read Katie Granju’s blog about all her failed efforts to discuss the case with the lead investigator on the case before he said something like “the Knox Co. Sheriff’s Department has conducted an exhaustive investigation,” since one would think that an exhaustive investigation would include talking to the victim’s family. Or maybe Gill thought the lead investigator would same something vaguely similar to what Gill had said.

But here’s what happened instead:

In seeking comment for this story, The Daily Beast reached the lead investigator by phone and asked if he’d ever met Katie Granju. He responded, “No, I have not.” When asked to confirm that he’d never met Henry, he promptly hung up.

Listen, I think Betty Bean is absolutely right–that they want to treat these overdoses like discrete cases, almost like accidental suicides. And I’m not unsympathetic to that position (which I know makes me kind of a heartless asshole). But any person living in Knox County or sending their kid to UT Knoxville should think long and hard about this portion I’ve highlighted.

Something terrible happened to Katie’s son. Some of it he did to himself. But he didn’t beat himself up and he didn’t manufacture his own drugs. Crimes were committed against him. And you, too, could be a victim of a crime in Knoxville. God forbid it be a crime that leaves you incapacitated or dead, but it could happen.

Are we, as a community, actually comfortable with the definition of “an exhaustive investigation” being one in which no one attempts to interview the victim? No one talks to the family about what the victim may have told them in the last days of his life?

That scares the shit out of me.

If that’s exhaustive, I’d hate to see what their half-assed investigations look like.

34 thoughts on “The Daily Beast Covers the Henry Granju Case

  1. Pingback: Another Tennessee Blogger on the Investigation Into Henry’s Case | justice for henry

  2. “If that’s exhaustive, I’d hate to see what their half-assed investigations look like.”

    This is it in a nutshell. Someone should sell t-shirts.

  3. Truly appalling. That almost beats the KPD’s “[the drug dealers] can’t be drug dealers, because then they would have nicer stuff” comment. Almost.

  4. I just read the whole Daily Beast article. Great reporting, except the closing sentences–Knoxville is “a rural and remote” corner of East Tennessee? Really?

  5. Said it before and I’ll say it again: I’m glad I don’t live there anymore. I definitely think they pick and choose which crimes to investigate in Knoxville.

    I’m glad some light is shining on how they do business over there. I hate that it took this to do it though.

  6. @Jessamy: Betty Bean said elsewhere she may have put the “remote and rural” part in the writer’s mind in her own description of where the folks who were last with Henry live. A mischaracterization of the area for sure, but harnless.

  7. I support the cause of pushing for a better and more professional investigation in Knoxville. I firmly stand behind the belief first implanted in my mind by you (b.) that the investigation should be reworked by an outside agency like the TBI.

    But I think Granju is harming her cause by pulling too many targets onto her range.

    I follow her and Henry’s Fund on FB and am growing tired of the constant assaults on pharmaceutical companies. It’d be like a person whose child was killed by a drunk driver taking on automakers.

    I am alive today because of drugs manufactured by pharmaceutical companies. So are my father, my brother and pretty much anyone who has survived a case of pneumonia. If upyiuve broken an arm or a leg and not had it amputated and not died of gangrene you can thank a pharmaceutical co. If you are pro-choice you can thank pharmaceutical companies for making abortion a safe procedure.


    KAGranju loses me when she casts too wide a net.

  8. @Coble: I may be missing something, but I haven’t noticed KAG targeting the drug companies. I gathered that she is upset that these drugs are made so available via pain clinics.

    @ Jessamy: It was defininitely some comic relief that law enforcement somehow views how much “nice stuff” people have to determine if they might be drug dealers!

  9. So, who was it that forced the kid to take the drugs? It obviously wasn’t his choice, right?

    There is only one person resposible when a drug dealer ODs.

  10. Steph:
    One of the iterations I follow on FB–justice for Henry or Henry’s Fund–has been posting links to news stories about lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies. The links are posted without additional comment, but their very existence leads me to infer that KAGranju is folding them into the ever-increasing batter of her crusade.

  11. @Coble: I haven’t seen KAGranju talking about drug companies. Not at all. She’s not mentioned one name of any such company. She said that prescription drugs are killing people on the street and it needs to stop. Get your story straight before you jump on someone.

  12. (Here’s my two cents – I’ll probably get ripped a new one over this, but whatever…)

    I am completely supportive of the Granju family when it comes to prosecuting the people because they did not call 911 or attempt to get any help while they clearly found the time to call others to alert those people of the dire state Henry Granju was involved. I also believe whomever beat him with the tire iron should rot behind bars.

    I do, however, find the possibility of prosecuting people (drug dealers*) with homocide to be a very slippery slope.

    Here’s why I stand where I stand. I started smoking when I was 15 years old. I regularly bought cigarettes from people who knew I was not 18, the legal age to buy cigarettes at the time. For three years, (1990 – 1993) I bought my own cigarettes. I smoked for 20 years. If I die of smoking related illness (too many to list here), how could I possibly go back to the store(s) or the clerk(s) and say “oh, you sold me cigarettes when I was underage, so you are responsible for my addiction. Thereby you are responsible for my illness and possible death”?

    I knew cigarettes were addictive when I was 15 and I knew smoking killed people – I had watched my own grandfather die of smoking related illness when I was 13. I have to take responsibility for the actions I began at age 15 and continued until age 35.

    *NOTE: I do not condone drug dealers. I think they are scum.

  13. For further elucidation (ie. Shari) Facebook User Henry’s Fund posted
    March 21 at 7:14pm · Like · · Share
    At that time an article about a fraud suit against Bristol-Myers Squibb

    The article had nothing to do with Rx pain med overdoses.

  14. Beth,

    I agree with everything you say except one thing.

    I don’t think drug dealers are scum.

    I think the way drugs are handled in this country is a travesty against humanity. I think that opportunists will always be there to take advantage of other people’s pain.

    But There are a lot of people who are by all terms of law and reckoning ‘Drug Dealers’ who are either well-meaning but misguided naive folks or are themselves victims our shortsighted policies created who are now doing what they can to survive.

    Henry Granju was, by his own mother’s admission, a drug dealer.

    My grandmother, a country physician educated bu the University of Michigan at the turn of the last century, was a drug dealer.

    My grandmother’s philosophy was that pain was pain and if it could be controlled or limited by medicine that was the best way to do it. She had a lot of patients in her part of Indiana who were injured in the World Wars. both physically and mentally. She once told my dad that if giving a man morphine allowed him to sleep without pain in his kings and dreams of the battlefield then she was treating jer patient just as she had sworn to do. (kings–limbs. Damn autocorrect)

    Drugs are a complicated story. I find myself wishing more and more that we treated them as my grandmother did in the 20th century, as the fortunate balm for unfortunate lives. Instead we make drugs a villain and an evil, when the source of the villainy is not the drugs themselves but the desperation surrounding them. Desperation our laws created.

    If Henry Granju could have gotten his drugs from a doctor like my grandma he wouldnt have had to sell some pills in a park to other men who beat him. If he could have found a doctor who was sympathetic to the pain from his beating he wouldn’t have had to call his pimp for some morphine that would eventually kill him.

  15. do, however, find the possibility of prosecuting people (drug dealers*) with homocide to be a very slippery slope.

    …If I die of smoking related illness (too many to list here), how could I possibly go back to the store(s) or the clerk(s) and say “oh, you sold me cigarettes when I was underage, so you are responsible for my addiction. Thereby you are responsible for my illness and possible death”?

    Uh, nicotine isn’t a Schedule I or II drug.

    (In fairness, I think that the 2nd degree homocide statute was re-written in the wake of Sunny Von Bulow’s murder. But the fact remains that Henry’s death resulted from him being given drugs that meet that statutory criteria which were not prescribed to him.)

  16. Andy, that’s my point – nicotine is a drug, therefore I am a drug addict. (Note, I quit smoking/using nicotine almost 2 months ago, but I will always be an addict).

    But the people who sold me cigarettes underage, technically they were supplying me my drug, knowing it was illegal.

  17. Katherine – I have known and respected your blogging for years, and I also understand that in opening this dialogue publicly (something I have been forced to do and hate every single second of), that I have invited opinions that may differ from my own. However, I have been increasingly bothered by the comments and blogging you have made regarding my son’s death in recent weeks. I kept my mouth shut until right now, but now, you have my mama hackles up. Yes, Katherine, the drug dealers who KILLED MY CHILD are scum. They are the worst kind of scum in ways that you know very well because you read my blog, where I have been forced via police inaction to deny my son the privacy and dignity as a victim he deserves. Yes, my son dealt some drugs in the last few months of his life. I have shared that openly, publicly and without excuses. However, I am frankly appalled by your comparison between my son’s behavior (FYI – my child had no criminal or juvenile record) with the behavior of the two scumbags who preyed on my child, encouraged him to take a lethal dose of methadone which they hand delivered to him, and then let him die – trapped in their home – while they watched over hours. I get it that you don’t like the idea of anyone criticizing the corporations that make opiate pain pills. I get it that you need those pills for a legitimate medical condition. But as someone who has “known” you as a member of the Tennessee blogging community for several years, I can’t believe the things you are saying here. MY CHILD IS DEAD. This is not some theoretical discussion for me. And for you to even mildly defend the people who did this to my boy is really beyond the pale. I pray to God that no one ever victimizes someone you love in the way my son has been vivtimized, but if that were to happen, and you were forced to go public with the details to try to get the authorities to do their jobs, I would never in a million years compare your dead loved one to the people who killed him. Okay. Rant over. But don’t you forget that Henry Granju was a real boy, who loved and played music and had younger siblings and cousins who adored him and who wanted desperately to be free. He was a good boy, my boy. And I’ll be damned if I will remain silent if anyone says that the people who did this are no different than he was. – Katie Allison Granju, Henry’s mama

  18. Katie: I’m going to use B’s blog to say something I probably should have said at yours, or maybe at Coble’s. I have chosen not to, until now, because I prefer not to whine about my personal situation (except when it involves work, ahahahahahacoughahaha).

    I take what Henry got hooked on. It is strictly regulated — believe me, if I try to get a refill sooner than the 30-day restrictions, even when a month has 31 days and I’m legitimately out, all the sirens go off and the dogs come out sniffing and the whole pharmacy looks at me like “JUNKIE! SEIZE HER! GUUAAAARDS!” until my doctor calls them and calms them down — and if I do not take what the doctor has prescribed every 12 hours, I will be in the emergency room, screaming, within another 12 hours. If I am a couple of hours late in taking it, not only does my pain return with a vengeance, but so do the (mild) withdrawal symptoms.

    Yup. I am hooked, legally. Most days I don’t scream, but I’m gritting my teeth, hard, just to function. Even with the medication.

    Never, at any point in your postings at or at, Katie, did I notice you blasting the pharmaceutical companies for what happened to Henry. I have seen you place blame where it belonged: on your dear son, for using, and for the criminals who beat him and gave him drugs and abused him. And on the investigating authorities who have so far slacked off in a reprehensible manner. I have, however, seen Ms. Coble’s previous post at her blog about this issue, which is why I don’t go there anymore.

    To say that prescription drug abuse is rampant in our country is not attacking those who are prescribed them. It’s simply stating a fact. It’s such a fact, in fact, that when I got my refills at lunch today, I didn’t leave them in the car in the back like I usually do any other purchase I make during the day. I put them in my purse and have them with me, because of the risk that someone could break into my car at my workplace, find them and run wild with them. Hell, I could put a down payment on a house with what I’ve got in my purse right now, and I wouldn’t have to walk more than three blocks to cash it out. (If I could walk three blocks, that is.)

    All those facts also express my anger and frustration with our society, that such sadly necessary stuff (for some of us) is abused and is made available, by crooked scum, to kids, who take it and die. Like dear Henry, and the other kids who die every day and don’t have family members with the guts to fight for justice after their fight to save those kids has failed.

    Ms. Coble, I have my pain, you have yours; you blog about your pain, I choose to keep mine private. Never in my lifetime would I deign to know what you suffer.

    But never in my lifetime would I deign to criticize the parent of a child who has died because of the prescription drugs we take. NEVER. If for no other reason than it’s just not good manners.

    Thanks, B, for letting me hijack your bandwidth. Blessings to you and the family, Katie, and to you, Ms. Coble.

  19. I am very sorry that ive hurt feelings and even sorrier that Ive lost friends. I’m sorry that I didn’t make my point more clearly.

    I DO think that the people who most probably killed Henry need to be punished.

    I do think that what they did by holding him against his will was vile and violent.

    But I just can’t call them scum. I am sorry. I can’t call anyone scum. I can call this whole ugly mess of addiction a dark pot of scum, because it is.

    But, Katie, I DO respect and like you. And because of that I can’t make a statement like “all X are scum.”

    I’m sorry. But it goes against my faith to do something like that. I have to believe that NO MATTER WHAT all people are deserving of Grace.

    What Randall and Yolanda have done to your son is deserving of harsh consequence. What Henry has done did in no way deserve the consequences he received. I will always believe that. But I cannot afford to see any human being as unworthy of Christ’s redemptive Grace, lest I get into the habit of deciding for myself who is and isn’t worthy.

    The longer I live the more I see that those attitudes in myself create walls between me and the suffering. I see that attitude as causing me to write off people who needed my help instead od my condemnation. I see that attitude in my church as what leads to making in groups and out groups.

    I believe in a God who loves us like the fiercest, angriest mother. Katie, YOU have in many ways over this last year been for me totemic of the God I believe in.

    I am very sorry that in my desire to express my personal beliefs I inadvertently made it seem as though vie devalued your son or what happened to him.

    grandefille: you’ve read me and been a friend to. Me for years. Many times your words have been more of a comfort to me than you realize. I’m sad that instead of coming to me directly about this you decided to wait until now to say something. It seems as though I could have used some gentle correction earlier.

  20. Katherine – Apology accepted. And I also believe in redemption – even for the people who did this to Henry. But we aren’t there. We aren’t even close. And in the meantime, I need them to be off the streets so that no other family EVER endures this, and so that no other sick, vulnerable, and yes – naive – teenager is lured into their clutches and murdered.

    God loves us all, just the same. But I am not God, I am my children’s mother, and I love them more than anyone else. And those are bad, bad people who hurt him. They acted with intent, with malice, with evil and with absolutely zero humanity. I hope that when they are imprisoned that they are able to have some kind of epiphany that will allow them to reach out to me to apologize. And I will gladly accept their apologies.


  21. Oh, Christ. I’m sorry I was out of this all afternoon. But I’m relieved to see it’s resolving.

    Let’s just everyone remember that the stakes are very, very high for a lot of people involved in this conversation and proceed with extreme kindness and gentleness.

  22. Katie, believe it or not, I too want them off the streets very very much. Very much. I want them off the streets and in solitary confinement where they can’t meet other prisoners and share the information they have about their networks and little tricks.

    I think they should be made to give you and your family an official apology. I really do.

    And because I still believe in the death penalty I actually do believe that perhaps one of them–whichever provided the actual dose-be put to death under the felony murder statute.

    Believe me, I believe all this. Firmly and completely. As much as I believe the police know more than they’re telling and have treated your family abominably.

    I fasted for Henry when he was in the hospital. I lit candles and called on the Mother God for you on the day he died. I will light a candle on his Yahrzeit. I have prayed for your whole family on a DAILY basis for the last ten months. Believe me, I care probably more than you realise.

  23. Actually, there isn’t much difference between the three drug dealers being discussed here. At some point, I’m sure that Y&R were someone’s precious children, liked music, were loved, etc. They got caught up in the same path, even though it’s easier to de-humanize them. If Henry went through rehab, he certainly learned the tools to fight his addition, and the potential consequences if he chose to use again. Exclaiming in all caps that your son is dead does not make you right to wage a campaign against law enforcement just because you can’t deal with your reality. While it might help you now to avoid coming to terms with it, in the long run it will just extend your suffering.

  24. I tried to say it nicely, but apparently some people did not get the message–this shit is not happening here.

    Katie’s kid is dead.

    Her first baby, the brother to her other children, is dead.

    If you, a stranger on the internet–Sunny– feel the need to lecture or hector or concern-troll her, you need to take a deep breath. If upon taking a deep breath and contemplating whether what you’re about to say is going to add to her suffering and you decide, “Well, what the hell? Why shouldn’t I potentially add to the suffering of a grieving mother?” at least have the decency to do it at her blog, so that she can have your IP address should she need to turn it over to the authorities.

    Jesus Christ. I can understand how long-time acquaintances might disagree, even publicly, in painful ways.

    But that somebody who doesn’t know me and doesn’t know Katie and who saw the painful shitstorm this thread turned into AND who saw me indicate I’d like for it to steer in a kinder direction is still like “But wait! I have to make sure my asshole opinion is heard?”

    That’s cruel to Katie and an insult to me.

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