Police: Man admitted pouring gasoline on disabled wife, burning her alive
A Virginia man told police he doused his disabled wife in gasoline, set her on fire and burned her alive.
The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk reported Tuesday that 58-year-old Delano Grangruth is charged with second-degree murder in the death of 61-year-old Kathleen White-Grangruth and burning a building with the intent to commit a felony.
Detective Matthew Nordan says firefighters went to the couple’s home in April after White-Grangruth’s caregiver smelled something burning and called 911. Firefighters forced their way inside and found White-Grangruth heavily burned.
Grangruth told detectives he and his wife, who used a wheelchair, had a serious fight, so he slept at a bar. Authorities say he later said he’d set White-Grangruth ablaze.
Officials said high oxidation levels visible on the metal of the chair, as well as the amount of carpet that burned, suggested an accelerant had been used.
Grangruth is scheduled to go to court in September.
In the days after his wife's death, Grangruth told WAVY that it was "a terrible and unfortunate incident." He said she had dementia, schizophrenia and that he was her primary caregiver.
He said they had been married for 20 years.
"She was a United States veteran like me and a great lady," he said. "I miss her. I love her. Her family misses her. It's an unfortunate incident."
He wouldn't respond to the question of whether he killed his wife, but wanted to make sure people knew: "I'm not a monster."
Caretaker Katrina Banks said Grangruth was known to yell at caretakers and some refused to work at the home.
“He got mad at everything,” Banks said. “He’s a firecracker.”