Nancy Grace, the prosecutor turned breakout star at CNN Headline News, tells a moving story about the 1980 murder of her boyfriend, Keith Griffin, a baseball player at a Georgia University. But the New York Observer reports that Grace has changed or exaggerated many details of the case. Grace says the killer was a stranger–a 24-year-old thug with a history of being on the wrong side of the law. She says he shot him five times in the head and back, stole $35 from his wallet, and left him dead. Police tracked down the killer, who denied involvement. At trial, Grace testified, then waited as jury deliberations dragged on for three days. The district attorney asked her if she wanted the death penalty, and in a moment of youthful weakness, she said no. The verdict came back guilty–life in prison–and a string of appeals ensued.
But the Observer says many of the details aren’t true. Griffin was shot not by a random robber, but by a former co-worker. The killer, Tommy McCoy, was 19, not 24, and had no prior convictions. McCoy confessed to the crime the evening he was arrested. The jury convicted in a matter of hours, not days. Prosecutors asked for the death penalty, but didn't get it, because McCoy was mildly retarded. The justice system apparently worked the way it was supposed to. In an emotional phone interview ranging over the inconsistencies in her account, Grace said, “I have not researched the defendant. I have tried not to think about it.” “She has bent some stuff,” said Steve Griffin, Keith Griffin's brother, in an interview with The Observer.