Ex-Toronto pastor sentenced to 15 years for killing pregnant wife by secretly drugging her, letting her drown

More than eight years after Philip Grandine killed his pregnant wife by drugging her with a sedative before she took a bath so he could talk to his mistress and freely use pornography, he was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

His behaviour before and on Oct. 17, 2011, was “diabolical,” callous, planned and premeditated, Superior Court Justice Faye McWatt said in her ruling Tuesday.

Karissa Grandine, 29 and 20-weeks pregnant, had no idea what her husband was capable of, McWatt said.

“She could not see the weapon used against her,” McWatt said.

This case comes closer to murder that most other manslaughter cases, McWatt found. This was no “drugging on the sudden.” Grandine researched, planned and obtained the drug, and then tested it on his wife and himself.

Tuesday’s ruling concludes Grandine’s second sentencing for the manslaughter of his wife.

Grandine was initially charged with first-degree murder but after a jury trial was found guilty of manslaughter. Grandine appealed the verdict and remained on bail pending appeal during that time. The appeal was granted due to errors in the way the trial judge answered a question from the jury and he had a new trial on the charge of manslaughter. He was found guilty for a second time.

Superior Court Justice Faye McWatt found that Grandine, then a nurse-manager who was working at a long-term care home, obtained the sedative lorazepam from his workplace after researching it online. To test the effects, he administered it to his 20-week pregnant wife twice in the days before she died.

On the night she died, Grandine gave his wife a dose of the drug that alone would not have killed her.

McWatt found that Grandine lied to police about his attempts to rescue his wife as she drowned in the bathtub, despite his medical training, and about where he was that night.

“The defendant was enamoured with both (his mistress) and with pornography. On the occasions in which his wife was incapacitated, the way for him to pursue both these fascinations was cleared and unimpeded,” McWatt wrote in her ruling on the facts of the case.

She said his hostility towards his wife stemmed from the discovery of the then pastor’s affair with a parishioner and an “obsession” with pornography in August 2011. After undergoing marriage counselling, Grandine agreed to have a pornography blocker installed on their home computer and to end the affair. But really, he was “seething with anger,” McWatt said.

An analysis of the computer found that the pornography blocker was removed the night Karissa Grandine died.

Prosecutor Donna Kellway argued a prison sentence of 13 to 15 years would be appropriate. The defence said it should be a period of five to seven years because the facts don’t involve physical violence. Justice McWatt did not accept this suggestion and found that domestic abuse can include both physical and emotional violence.

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Grandine has served 300 days of pretrial custody and spent six years on house arrest. He got a total credit of 37 months and has 11 years and 11 months left to serve.

Grandine was handcuffed in the courtroom and taken into custody.

With files from The Canadian Press

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