Kelsey Grammer Clarifies Forgiving Sister's Killer, "the Worst in the History of Colorado"
Kelsey Grammer on "Access Hollywood." More photos and a video below.
Grammer spoke about these remarks for the first time in an unusual setting: an appearance on Access Hollywood to hype Partners, a new FX comedy with Martin Lawrence, who was also present, and the action-adventure flick The Expendables 3. And while he didn't quite retract his forgiveness, he seemed frustrated that Glenn escaped death row and called the killings "the worst in the history of Colorado." Get details and see the video below.
Lawrence and Grammer with co-hosts Kit Hoover and Samantha Harris.
The sequence began with an excerpt from The Expandables 3 and typically upbeat chatter about its box office prospects before chirpy co-hosts Kit Hoover and Samantha Harris executed a hard shift into the subject of the actor's forgiveness of Glenn.
Back in 1975, Glenn abducted Grammer's sister, Karen, who was living in Colorado Springs at the time. He's said to have repeatedly raped her before stabbing her in the throat, back and hand and leaving her to die.
Glenn had been sentenced to death, but the punishment was altered to life in prison after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling. Last month, Grammer traveled to Colorado to testify in Glenn's parole hearing and at one point said, "I accept your apology. I forgive you. However, I cannot give your release my endorsement. To give that a blessing would be a betrayal of my sister's life."
This topic was broached on Access Hollywood in the context of Grammer reaching the point where he could forgive Glenn. But Grammer didn't recall the specific phrases he used in his testimony. "Well, actually now, you guys have probably heard the tape more than I have," he said. (To listen to an excerpt, click here.) "I think what I said was...after he said he was sorry, I said, 'Well, you say you're sorry. I have to accept that. But it's very hard for me to imagine you as a free man.'
"These guys were originally sentenced to death," he continued. "There were three originally, then there were two. They were just making really horrible choices and taking a lot of people's lives. My sister was six of seven [victims]. That's what the cops told me at the time. They showed her no mercy: They tore her apart and then they stabbed her 42 times. I don't see a lot of room for mercy. I see room for forgiveness and leniency, but leniency in the context of 'You stay in jail, please.'"
As for why Glenn escaped death row, Grammer explained that "Jimmy Carter was elected president just after Karen was killed and about a year later, the Supreme Court reviewed or basically kicked out all death penalties in the country and asked all states to review their own laws. Of course, they were rewritten. Two years later, Colorado reinstated the death penalty for extraordinarily vicious crimes."
He certainly believes his sister's murder qualifies.
"These are probably the worst in the history of Colorado," he said, "because they were deeply personal. For instance, the guy that shot up the theater during the Batman thing is a specific horror, but these are personal horrors. My sister begged for her life to these guys, said she'd do anything they wanted, and they still tore her apart."
Grammer also recalled the trauma of learning about Karen's death and telling their mother what happened.
"The cops came to the door in Florida, where we lived, and asked if there was anybody in the house that had a heart condition," he explained. "That's when I realized it was about Karen. Then they walked me out and said, 'We have a Jane Doe in Colorado Springs,' and then they showed me a picture. After that, I had to identify her body and tell my mom after that. Pretty horrible stuff."
Kit Hoover and Samantha Harris listening to Grammer's remarks.
Nonetheless, Grammer went on, "I think you can forgive -- but that's a different thing than forgetting. You carry this love you have for your sister. You always will. You're always wondering in those moments when you miss her or think about what she might have been now. I carry a deep fondness for her as well as a commitment.... I couldn't stop this killing, but I can stop them from being free -- or try."
Glenn's next chance for parole is reportedly three years away.
Look below to see this very atypical Access Hollywood conversation.
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Westword's biggest stories.
- Marijuana Strain Review: Keplar at Golden Meds
Sat., Sep. 5, 7:30pm
Sun., Sep. 6, 2:00pm
Fri., Sep. 11, 7:00pm
Sat., Sep. 12, 1:00pm
- Reader: Saying Someone is Ugly and Has Big Boobs Isn't Sexist
- Foodies Mourn the Death of Le Central