Man convicted of murder in 1988 petitions for shorter sentence - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Man convicted of murder in 1988 petitions for shorter sentence

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A Warrick County man convicted of the brutal murders of his stepmother and stepgrandmother is petitioning the court for a shorter sentence. 

Back in 1988, Robert Wayne Grass was sentenced to a hundred years in prison. He's served more than 20.

Grass' hearing is coming up next week.

It's been a long time since anyone has heard of Robert Wayne Grass. He was 17 years old when he first walked through this court house, 18 years old when he was convicted on both of those murders.

On Wednesday, 14 News spoke to the lead investigator at the time, who says hundred year sentence does not sound excessive no matter how well behaved Grass has been jail.

"It was not considered to be a death penalty case at the time, but it could have been. I understand his interest in modifying his sentence. He is still a young man in a sense that he is only in his 40s. However, he still has a long time to serve in the department of corrections," Chief Deputy Marvin Heilman said. Heilman was the lead investigator for Indiana State Police at the time.

Robert Wayne Grass has been serving more than 23 years at a maximum security prison for strangulating his stepmom, Cynthia Grass, and hiding her body underneath a bunk bed. He has also been serving for stabbing and beating his stepgrandmother, Edith Maxey, to death and then stuffing her in a closet inside her mobile home in Chandler.

"It was a particularly brutal murder. It's just an unusual case for our area here," Heilman said.

14 News spoke with Grass in 1999. He didn't say he was innocent or guilty, but said there was additional evidence that would have changed his conviction.

"As I review the record now and remember, there was a blood stain on the floor that had a footprint in it. It's still there and it's never been brought up," Grass said in an interview in 1999.

Heilman says despite not having advanced technology back then, he never doubted Grass killed both his step mom and step grandmother.

"There was certain evidence, circumstantial evidence that directly connected him, Robert to the scene. It's difficult because he was a 17 year old teenager. I didn't really get a chance to talk to him, as far as an interrogation or anything like that, about the facts of the crime," Heilman said.

Hielman along with the former Warrick County Prosecutor have been subpoenaed to appear in court on Monday. We will ask to speak to Grass on Monday as well.

Heilman says although it is a 100 year sentence, the most Grass will serve is 50 years.

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