Kelsey Grammer to sister's killer at parole hearing: "I live with tragedy every day"
Kelsey Grammer during an interview with Oprah Winfrey last year. More images plus video and audio below.
Actor Kelsey Grammer visited Colorado earlier this week, but he wasn't in the state where he once maintained a ski home for pleasure. Quite the opposite, in fact. He appeared via video conference from Denver at a Buena Vista parole hearing for Freddie Glenn, a man convicted of killing Grammer's younger sister, Karen, and two others in Colorado Springs circa 1975. Glenn had asked for parole, but while Grammer offered forgiveness, he stopped short of endorsing that Glenn be freed. During his testimony, Grammer said, "I live with tragedy every day of my life." Photos, audio and video below.
One of many Freddie Glenn booking photos.
The website Murderpedia classifies Glenn as a "spree killer" in its recap of the circumstances that led to his imprisonment.
On June 19, 1975, according to the site, Glenn, a teenage civilian working at Fort Carson, and Michael Corbett, a soldier at the base, tried to rob 29-year-old Four Seasons Hotel cook Daniel Van Lone -- but the situation quickly escalated to the homicidal. Van Lone reportedly begged for his life, but they shot him to death anyway.
The amount of cash Glenn and Corbett netted? Fifty cents, Murderpedia points out.
Just over a week later, the pair killed another Fort Carson soldier, Winfred Proffitt, with Corbett allegedly committing the act using a bayonet "to see what it was like." Then, on July 1, they tried to rob a Red Lobster restaurant on South Academy Boulevard. The heist was unsuccessful, but the site maintains that they took a hostage -- Karen Grammer, who'd been waiting for her boyfriend to get off work -- "because they feared she could identify them."
After robbing a convenience store, the men took Karen to an apartment they shared. She was allegedly raped repeatedly before Glenn, who was said to be under the influence of LSD, "stabbed her in the throat, back and hand and left her to die," the Murderpedia account states.
Glenn was convicted for the three murders in 1976 and sentenced to death -- but when Colorado abolished the death penalty two years later, his punishment was changed to life in prison. He took part in his first parole hearing in 2009, but the parole board denied his request, which Grammer's brother Kelsey opposed.
A statement from Grammer called Glenn a "butcher" and a "monster." In Grammer's words, his inability to protect Karen "very nearly destroyed me." He added: "When we heard this man might be paroled, the suffering began anew."
This week, Glenn got another chance at parole, and the Denver Post reports that he emphasized his good behavior behind bars, sisters in Florida willing to take him in, a fiancee and a $200,000 trust in his name that would give him the ability to support himself.
Grammer's remarks, part of which are captured in a Post embed shared below, went a different direction.
Kelsey Grammer first spoke with Oprah Winfrey about his sister's murder in 1995.
"I want to believe that you've actually changed your life," Grammer told Glenn. "And I want to believe that you could find a way to become a useful, productive citizen. The things you say, I accept a lot of them, and I would say in a way that I stand in admiration of the way you've survived prison and become a model prisoner.
"Let me talk about my sister for a second," he continued. "Karen and I went to school together, and in her junior year, she decided she wanted to go to another school, because I was a pretty big deal back in high school. So she went to another private school across town, basically, and when she got there, they put her in the senior class, because she was that smart. And she graduated at the head of the class -- the kid who gave the big speech. Her future was bright. She went to college for about half a semester, and then she decided to go to Colorado Springs because she had a boy that she liked. She was a terrific kid, a wonderful, wonderful person. I miss her all the time."
Addressing Glenn again, Grammer said, "I accept that you live with remorse every day of your life, but I live with tragedy every day of my life. Mr. Glenn, you couldn't have come to a better person than me to advocate to -- somebody who's made some bad choices. But I just want to ask why you've never tried to get in touch with me...."
At that point, near the end of the audio recording below, Glenn interrupts -- and the Post quotes the exchange that followed. In response to Grammer's question about what he would want done to someone who'd killed his sister, Glenn replied, "I would be hurt, and I would be angry.... I would like to think one day I would forgive." He also stressed that nearly forty years had passed since the three murders took place and said he was sorry for his actions.
"Thank you," Grammer responded. "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."
Glenn's parole was denied -- meaning it should be another five years before he gets another chance at freedom.
Below, see another booking photo of Glenn and an Oprah Winfrey interview with Grammer talking about the tragedies in his life; it was recorded last year. That's followed by Denver Post audio of Grammer's testimony.
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.