A man sentenced today to serve the rest of his life behind bars didn’t show up in court. The family of his victim was there in force.
Robert Grant declined to leave his jail cell for his 1st Degree Murder sentencing for killing 43-year-old Trudy McKee. McKee’s family sat in Judge Gregory Schatz’s courtroom as the judge sentenced Grant to life in prison and fifty years for use of a weapon to commit a felony. Judge Schatz gave Grant the maximum sentence on both charges.
The prosecution called the murder “savage and barbaric.” Judge Schatz agreed calling Grant “a very dangerous person” who exhibited extreme violence in the murder of McKee and in subsequent court proceedings when he attacked his own attorney and punched a Douglas County Deputy.
Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine called the sentence “appropriate.”
“Life plus fifty years, I mean, true justice would be able to bring the victim back in this case but we can’t do that so we want to make sure that he can never get out and never hurt anybody else again,” he said.
Judge Schatz said Grant gave him no choice in the sentencing based on Grant’s interview with a probation officer which revealed Grant expressed “no remorse,” refuses to “accept responsibility” for his actions and “denies culpability” for killing McKee.
“You’d like to think that somebody that does something like this will at least at some point in time have a conscience and show some sort of remorse for what he’s done to somebody. But he doesn’t so that’s just the way it is,” Kleine said.
Outside the courtroom, McKee’s family focused on remembering the “baby sister” of a tight knit family.
“She was full of fire,” Sister Cindy Brestel said. “She could rattle off a joke. I was always the slow one, so she would say something and she would kind of look to me and ‘Did you get that Cindy?’ and I’m like ‘Oh, yeah…’ You know?”
Sharon McKee choked up when remembering her youngest daughter as one who loved to read, write and play music.
“She loved cats,” Sharon McKee added. “And when she was younger, she actually would keep a diary of each one of them. She named them and then she’d keep track of the ones that they had and gave them names so she had quite a collection of cat names.”
“It’s pretty hard to lose any child, but the way we lost Trudy was just extremely terrible.”
Trudy McKee’s body was found near her daughter, Alexis’ apartment near 99th & Park Drive on September 17, 2014. McKee had been stabbed multiple times.
A WOWT 6 News investigation revealed that in 2012, McKee and Grant were dating in Wichita, Kansas where they lived at the time. At one point, he threatened her with a kitchen knife and punched her daughter in the face.
Kleine said this pattern led to a gruesome end.
“There’s a history here of him doing things -- abusing her,” Kleine said. “A prior history of domestic violence and it culminates in the ultimate act of domestic violence and that’s taking her life in a horrific manner.”
McKee’s daughter, Alexis, was the one who found her mother’s body. Alexis is now 18, off to college and has her own apartment, according to the family.
“We’re very proud of Lexi,” Sharon McKee said. “She’s gone through a lot for such a young person and so we’re going to go forward.”
“Lexi was her star,” sister Shelly McKee explained. “We’ll just continue to be there for Lexi and each other and make it about Trudy. Now we can put this part of the chapter behind us and move on. Just begin the healing even more now and focus on what Trudy meant to us and start thinking about the good things, the happy things and that’s how we need to remember her.”