Makayla Grote’s Father Gives Emotional Testimony in Fatal Stabbing of Longmont Woman
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story misspelled Aidan von Grabow’s first name. It has been corrected.
Teary-eyed testimony from Makayla Grote’s father, Troy Grote, was offered at Tuesday’s session of the weeklong hearing for 15-year-old Aidan von Grabow, accused of stabbing the 20-year-old Longmont woman to death in November.
“Makayla and I were very close,” Troy Grote said. “She wasn’t just my daughter. She was my best friend. We did a lot together. Makayla at a young age got involved in (auto) racing. I would go into the garage and she was with me. I cry every day.
“I don’t get to walk her down the aisle. She had a boyfriend she’d been seeing for three years, I was looking forward to walking her down the aisle. She already had her wedding colors picked out. I still look at them,” Grote said, as Makayla’s boyfriend, Noah Malik, hurried out of the courtroom amid the man’s audible sobs from the witness stand.
Prosecutors with the Boulder County District Attorney’s Office focused on von Grabow’s “death list” that made threats against seven other teenagers discovered in a notebook at his home after Makayla Grote’s Nov. 18 death.
While von Grabow’s defense attorneys Steve Jacobson and Mike Rafik try to convince a judge to keep their client moving through juvenile court over the course of the hearing that started Monday , prosecutors want to charge the boy as an adult with first-degree murder and 10 other counts related to the stabbing.
Witnesses Paul Troyer and Dorothy Beth Colagiovanni — respective parents to two of von Grabow’s Green Mountain High School classmates on his list — both testified they knew of no reason for the defendant to want to harm their children.
But prosecutors late Monday pointed to evidence that suggested von Grabow was retaliating against Grote’s younger sister, with whom he attended Green Mountain High School and ran as teammates on the cross country team.
Next to Grote’s sister’s name on the list, von Grabow allegedly wrote, “Torture until she begs for mercy/make her fight. Then take hostage,” according to Longmont police Detective Brian Dean’s testimony.
Below that, the list said, “Burn Troyer’s house,” and another page in the notebook had a “supply list” written on it that included “Molotov cocktails, towels, rags, containers, knives, dark clothing, duct tape and a hatchet.”
Lakewood police discovered von Grabow had stashed Molotov cocktails , lighter fluid, throwing knives, a machete, hunting knives and a kitchen knife with a 6-inch blade in his bedroom the day before Grote was stabbed in the head, cheek and chest.
Additionally, Longmont police found records of 13 items ordered Nov. 15 by von Grabow on his father’s and grandfather’s Amazon.com accounts, including what Detective Steve Desmond described as a black tactical helmet, a headlight to attach to the helmet, a black mask, a motocross chest protector, military hard-knuckle gloves, two sets of throwing knives, two “Rambo” knives, two sets of identical handcuffs, black military boots and black pants.
Records showed the items were delivered Nov. 16 and Nov. 17.
The teen reportedly went to the Grote residence around 11 a.m. Nov. 18, about seven hours before the fatal stabbing attack, wearing boots and all black clothing and spoke with Grote’s younger sister. When the girl’s mother informed the boy he was unwelcome at the apartment, he explained he could not leave because the battery of his vehicle needed a jump.
A neighbor of the Grotes’ helped start von Grabow’s vehicle.
In the days after Grote’s death, her sister told Desmond she heard a scream from Makayla in the apartment’s living room and came out of a bathroom to see von Grabow in black clothing standing over her. She then yelled, “Aiden stop,” and locked herself behind a door.
Von Grabow reportedly broke down a bedroom door before leaving the apartment, and the younger Grote exited a separate room after he left.
The handwritten “death list” was accompanied by other notes found in von Grabow’s room threatening Grote’s sister, apparently for reporting to police that he had sent her Snapchat messages referencing the “death list” in October, according to Dean’s testimony.
Von Grabow was taken into custody by Lakewood police Oct. 16 after telling Grote’s sister he needed a favor so he would keep a friend of hers off the list, and also making statements such as, “Have I told you I take meds that numb my entire body so I can’t feel anything?” and, “I don’t get how you think one officer can stop me when I’ve literally stabbed myself before,” Lakewood police Officer Brandon Saunders testified.
The teen’s parents requested he be put on a mental health hold at that time.
His lawyers last month suggested they may point to possible side effects of the acne medication Accutane for sparking violent behavior in the teen Rafik described as “quiet, kind and thoughtful” prior to October.
“One of the things that’s bothering me is that one person who I trusted decided to stab me in the back and screw up my life by snitching on me,” von Grabow reportedly wrote in one note. “I don’t think I will be able to forgive this person. It definitely won’t be pretty when I’m discharged from this awful place.”
A separate note, written in large letters, said, “She will suffer for what she did to me, she will die.”
Another letter specifically named Grote’s sister.
“Dear Nicole, I hope you know what you did is an awful thing,” it said.
Police also recovered records of mental health services rendered to von Grabow at the home, including techniques provided to the boy by professionals to prevent self-harm and suicidal thoughts.
Longtime Green Mountain High School cross country coach Clint Boston testified he never saw von Grabow and Grote’s sister interact romantically while teammates in his program. The boy, though, became academically ineligible to run in late September, despite running on the varsity squad as a freshman. The year before that, he was named to an academic all-state team.
Police arrested von Grabow in the hours after Grote’s death outside a Lakewood home where another person on the “death list” lived.
Since being in custody at a juvenile detention facility, von Grabow reportedly told another person being held there he “stabbed this girl a bunch of times” and it was “overkill,” but did not regret committing the attack, stating “I would do it again,” according to Desmond’s own conversations with that juvenile.
“Aiden told (the juvenile) he was on medication that was making him insane and made him kill this girl, and despite making him insane, he liked taking this medicine,” Desmond said.
Prosecutors rested their case following Desmond’s testimony. The defense will call their first witnesses 9 a.m. Wednesday.
District Judge Andrew Macdonald will decide the setting of the teenager’s case as well as whether prosecutors have enough evidence to proceed at the hearing’s conclusion, scheduled for Friday.
Sam Lounsberry: 303-473-1322, email@example.com and twitter.com/samlounz .