A few weeks ago, 17-year-old John Granat’s parents threw away the marijuana he was growing at their home, prompting him to tell friends that he wanted to kill his parents. Two weeks later, they were dead, bludgeoned to death in their bedroom.
Judge Peter Felice ordered Granat held without bond in court on Tuesday on two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of his father, John Granat, 44, and mother, 42-year-old Maria Granat.
The teen stood beside his lawyer, listening to prosecutors describe the bloody crime scene inside his family’s large Palos Township home, and then poke holes in Granat’s story of how he awoke Sunday morning to find his parents dead in their bedroom.
After the hearing, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said, “It was clear that (Granat) had a difficult relationship with his parents at times and at different times had made threats…He had made threats to kill them at times…(Granat) gave numerous stories, one after the other, including alibis. None of which made any sense, none of which turned out to be true.”
Sources said that there was no evidence Granat tried to get anyone to help to kill his parents. None of his friends reported the threats to police, but they reportedly pleaded with him not to kill his parents.
John and Maria Granat were part of a large extended family of Polish immigrants and 17 aunts and uncles from both sides of the family sat in the courtroom during the hearing, although the teen did not make eye contact with them.
Attorney Rick Beuke, who said he’d been hired by the family to defend Granat against the murder charges, said, “The reason they’re here is because they believe in their nephew’s innocence. That speaks to their confidence that their nephew didn’t do this.”
Authorities said Granat changed his story twice. First he said he had returned home at 8 p.m. Saturday and remained there all night, going to bed sometime after midnight, but a Palos Heights police officer had pulled the teen over or a broken taillight at about 5 a.m. Sunday. The officer said Granat had a bottle of bleach — “pool chlorine in a plastic bottle” — and $4,000 in cash inside the car. Granat then changed his story to say he had been out with friends, but none of the friends he named admitted to having seen him after 6 p.m. Saturday. With his story contradicted again, Granat told police he had given a friend permission to enter the house Saturday night while Granat was out. Granat claimed he fell asleep in his car and didn’t enter his home until 7 a.m. Sunday, when he found his parents murdered.
Dart said thatvaluables in the home were untouched, including the elder John Granat’s wallet (which was found on the kitchen counter with $1,800 in it). Officers reported that there was a strong smell of ammonia or bleach when they arrived.
Beuke described his client as “5feet, 4 inches tall and maybe soaking wet, 140 pounds” noted it seemed unlikely that he was capable of beating two adults to death, but sources said that friends reported the teen had shown an interest in weightlifting and may have been using steroids.
Dart said the teen had been emotionless while in custody, but Beuke said Granat was overwhelmed by grief. Beuke said one of Granat’s first questions for his attorney was whether he could attend his parents’ funeral, set for Saturday.