Madera murder plot allegedly hatched while teens watched a movie

A murder plot allegedly hatched while some Madera teenagers watched a movie.
March 19, 2014 4:04:37 PM PDT
A Madera man is accused of killing Krista Pike to please a romantic rival. Another teen admitted being part of the initial planning of the murder, and she testified Wednesday.

Veronica Blumberg walked into a Modesto courtroom a reluctant witness, admitting that until last week she thought she could still be charged with Krista Pike's murder.

Blumberg testified she talked about killing Krista with Brittney Navarra and Dustin Gran in December 2007 as they watched a movie about assassins.

A month later, Pike was beaten to death at the home she shared with her fianc? Thomas Hollier.

Gran sat with his hand to his face as Blumberg said he'd told her he wanted to kill Krista as a Christmas present to Navarra, who dated Hollier until Krista moved back to Madera.

Gran's murder trial was moved to Modesto because of extensive media coverage and Krista's family is under a gag order preventing them from talking about the case. But two Cal State Stanislaus students observed testimony Wednesday.

Cal State Stanislaus student Lesli Castaneda said, "It was really intense. It made me really emotional. I didn't think it was going to get to me."

Blumberg said Gran went to kill Krista once before the murder, but she wasn't home alone that time. As she started crying, Blumberg said she never told anyone about the plot because she was in denial and didn't want to believe Gran and Navarra would carry it out. But on January 14th, 2008, she said Navarra told her "it's done" -- a closing scene to a movie nightmare.

Castaneda added, "It's weird because I've never seen that and just knowing that it's real, knowing it's not just on TV or fake, just really takes it to a different level."

Gran's trial is expected to last another week or two, but if he's found guilty, a sanity trial will follow. He claimed he was insane at the time.

Navarra will get her own separate trial, possibly as soon as May.


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