Murder, They Blogged

  • Share
  • Read Later
Lafayette Police Department / The Daily Camera / AP

Police booking photos of Bryan Grove, 17 (left) and Tess Damm, 15, alleged to have conspired together to kill Tess' mother, Linda.

Bloggers have been blamed for lots of sins — but murder? On Feb. 3, 17-year-old Bryan Grove allegedly stabbed to death his girlfriend's mother in the bedroom of her suburban Denver home. Friends say that he and Tess Damm, 15, hated Linda Damm because of her drinking. Police found Damm's body, crammed into the trunk of a garaged car, when they arrested Bryan and Tess more than three weeks later, on Feb. 28, following an anonymous tip. Between the murder and the arrests, neighbors heard loud music from the house, saw teens coming and going, and saw Bryan riding on the hood of Tess's car. What is extraordinary about this case is that Tess and Bryan apparently documented their feelings in their blogs in the weeks before the murder and during the 25 days in which Linda Damm's body remained undiscovered.

Bryan Grove wrote poetry on his MySpace blog. For example, at 7:39 on the morning of Feb. 1, he apparently posted this: "Every time I feel you wrapped in my arms, I feel nothing can go wrong, every time we hold each others hands, I feel everything is so right..." The next evening, the night before the murder, this appeared: "Knives take my breath away... trapped inside my wake, despair? no, just another day of lifeless." Police say that when Bryan offered to murder Tess's mother, Tess didn't believe him — replying, "Whatever," according to the arrest affidavit. On Feb. 3, Bryan allegedly stabbed Linda Damm four times in the throat and once in the mouth.

His blog goes dark until Feb. 11, when this is posted: "My baby... I miss you. I'm here without you and I hate it." At that time, Grove was visiting a tech school in Florida with his father. Tess replies, "Baby I miss you too... It's hard to do everyday things without crying..." At this point, according to police documents, Tess was alone in the house with her dead mother stuffed in a car in the garage. In a P.S. Tess says, "Your gonna be really happy when you come home! Your wifey cleaned up the house and did ALL the laundry for you. [emoticon for a grin]" But two days later she writes, "I lied about the laundry... [emoticon for a frown] There was too much to do. So I like, did a lot of it, but theres still a lot left."

According to police, she had apparently washed Bryan's bloody clothes and set fire to bloody sheets in the backyard. Meanwhile, on Bryan's home page, which featured tortured demons and flames, these words raged: "I am dark. My picture might not be menacing, but I do stand a good 6'1 tall and I am... HUGE..." On Feb. 19, there is this entry in Bryan's blog: "I did things that I shouldn't have, with my two hands, I just want to drink a barrel of cyanide, to make this pain go away..."

Tess's MySpace home page gave hints of her dark moods before the murder. On Jan. 19 a post reads: "Current mood: discontent... Everyone knows the story of me and my mom... everyone knows how much I've tried to fix it my whole life... I could write a book about how confusing it is trying to please that woman... and trying to do whatever I can to get her to stop drinking." Lyrics are quoted: "Smile, I'ma blow a hole in your neck..."

According to police reports, Bryan enlisted a friend to help move Linda's body to the garage. The friend recounted that when the body was moved to a freshly dug hole, Tess couldn't look. When Bryan and his friend dug up Linda's body because the hole was too shallow, Tess lay down in the backseat of the car, again refusing to look. The relationship between Bryan and Tess, meanwhile, seemed to be fraying. On Feb. 24, her blog read: "I don't understand how two people who are 'in love' can have so many... fights in one day. I'M DONE WITH GIVING YOU MONEY TO BUY CIGARETTES. I'M NO LONGER JUST YOUR MONEY SOURCE." On Feb. 26: "I'm like, so amazingly bored."

Under police interrogation, Tess and Bryan, interviewed separately, gave conflicting stories. Jailed since Feb. 28, Tess and Bryan have been charged as adults. He has been charged with first-degree murder and is under suicide watch. She has been charged with conspiracy to commit murder and with evidence tampering. They will enter pleas following an arraignment in May. Meanwhile, their MySpace pages remain active. Tess's page lists more than 1100 comments, both pro and con, a little world of sympathy and condemnation. "Killing ur mom is one thing but leaving her in the f-----g trunk of the car for [25 days] and partying in the house is just a sick thing to do," reads one. Says another: "I love you Tess I'm sorry. goodbye."