Local News

Johnston County Teacher Denies Involvement In Murder-For-Hire Plot

Posted November 28, 2005 9:55 a.m. EST

— Every day is filled with emotion for Marcia Grimsley, a former Johnston County elementary school teacher and the widow of a powerful man in state politics.

Then, in 2004, she was charged in a murder-for-hire plot. Her son, David, is serving a life sentence in Virginia after a jury convicted him of trying to hire a hit man to have his estranged wife, Amy, killed.

Grimsley's own future is on the line because she is also accused of being involved in the plot.

The charge seemed to come out of nowhere.

Grimsley was a respected teacher at McGee's Crossroads Elementary School. Her late husband, Joe Grimsley, was a high-level Democrat, cabinet member and advisor to former Gov. Jim Hunt.

Yet, during an ugly custody dispute over her grandchildren, she called Amy Ashford an unfit mother who had stolen from her in the past.

"But, I love her. I don't hate her," said Grimsley, who denies the allegations against her. Grimsley now lives in Johnston County, where she waits for the case in Virginia to be resolved.

Virginia investigators say Grimsley's denials ring hollow. They based her arrest on taped conversations with her son and the fact that she sent $2,000 in cash to an officer posing as a hit man.

Grimsley, however, claims she wanted someone to investigate, not kill, her daughter-in-law.

"It did not seem out of the ordinary to me because I had hired a private investigator previously and paid cash," Grimsley said.

Free on bond, Grimsley and her attorney are trying to get the murder plot charges against her dropped. Until then, she sticks to her story of innocence.

"I want an investigation," she said. "I believe my son will be exonerated. I know that I'm going to be."