Salesman now charged with murder in fatal shooting of Mac Haik manager

December 4, 2012 4:24:07 PM PST
Charges have been upgraded against a salesman accused of shooting his store manager at a west Houston car dealership last week.

Now charged with first degree murder, Keith Grimmett is in jail without bond.

"I do believe he's struggling," defense attorney Sylvia Escovedo told us.

Mac Haik's used car lot seemed to be operating normally Tuesday, just days after Kuentz was allegedly murdered. Grimmett, 49, was working as a salesman when prosecutors say he got into an argument with Kuentz.

"It appears that there was a meeting the day before the murder where the complainant and the defendant had a conversation about his sales numbers. Something was said during that meeting that upset the defendant," said prosecutor Natalie Tise.

Prosecutors say Grimmett showed up Friday morning with a gun and confronted Kuentz in his office. Grimmett allegedly shot his boss in the neck as another employee watched in horror.

"I know that there was one individual in the office at the time, and several other co-workers who saw the defendant as he left the workplace with the gun," Tise said.

Police say Grimmett later turned himself in. Kuentz, 30, was taken to the hospital where he died on Monday.

"The case is still under investigation, so I'm sure there will be a lot more information coming in," Tise said.

"Murder, a first degree felony, is five to life and in an aggravated assault it's two to 20 years, a second degree felony. So there's a big difference," said KTRK Legal Analyst Joel Androphy.

He tells us jurors may have a hard time feeling sympathy for Grimmett.

"A lot of time jurors will give a defendant some benefit if the defendant irrationally or with sudden passion or emotion decided to shoot somebody and didn't really think it through. But when someone thinks it through and still goes through with the crime, jurors are more harsh on that person," Androphy said.

Kuentz leaves behind a wife and young son. Kuentz's father told us he and his family were so upset that they couldn't come to Tuesday's hearing.

Grimmett is due back in court on January 16.


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