Dustin Gran murder trial gets underway in Modesto

The murder trial against a man accused of beating a girl to death in a teenage love triangle started on Thursday in Modesto.
March 6, 2014 12:00:00 AM PST
Intense media coverage pushed this case from Madera County to Stanislaus County, where a jury now knows how prosecutors believe this murder was plotted and carried out.

Krista Pike's life was just getting started when prosecutors say Dustin Gran cut it short. The 18-year-old had just gotten engaged to Thomas Hollier and moved in with him and his dad in early 2008. Weeks later, Hollier came home from school and found his fianc?e dead.

Prosecutors say they know at least one other person saw the same scene. A cellphone belonging to Dustin Gran -- found in a safe behind his family's business -- held a photo of the body as well as text messages tying Brittany Navarra to the murder.

Hollier had dumped Navarra when Krista came back to town, and he resumed his relationship with her. Hollier also had one more clue for police after the murder. He and Krista often wrote each other messages on the bathroom mirror they shared. On the day of her murder, she left one final message -- talking about her parents, and mentioning that Dustin Gran had stopped by the house.

Pike's parents made the trip to Modesto on Thursday to see Gran stand trial. But like the attorneys in the case, they're bound by a gag order preventing them from commenting. They both looked away as prosecutors showed pictures of the murder scene, and both smiled as Hollier answered questions about his relationship with their daughter. Stacie Pike even hugged Hollier after he finished testifying.

The trial is expected to last an entire month. Dustin Gran has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. Navarra will face her own separate trying, possibly as soon as May.

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