Nine years after Holly Grimm’s disappearance, a man accused of kidnapping and killing Lower Makungi’s mother is on trial – The Morning Call

Nearly nine years ago, Pennsylvania police announced they were looking for a 41-year-old mother who had disappeared from the Lower Makunga Mobile Home Park where she lived.

Holly Grimm, a petite woman with brown hair and brown eyes, did not show up for work on November 22, 2013 at Allen Organ Co. in Makunga, and her relatives were unable to contact her. Police said they considered her missing.

Grimm drove her teenage son to the school bus stop early in the morning, but when half an hour later her mother came to visit, Grimm’s car was outside and there were glasses and cigarettes inside, but she was not at home. A spilled cup of coffee, an overturned ashtray and a ridiculous coffee table made Grimm’s mother and boyfriend believe that someone had interrupted Grimm’s morning routine – cigarettes and coffee – while she was watching the news.

Despite requests from the Grimm family and the efforts of volunteer investigators, it took nearly three years before state police unearthed human bones in the town of Ross, owned by Grimm’s former colleague Michael Horvath. A few days later, investigators confirmed that the remains belonged to Grimm, and accused Horvath of kidnapping and killing Grimm. and throw her body into a shallow grave at the foot of Blue Mountain.

The 55-year-old Croat will take place on Wednesday in Monroe County, where he has been behind bars since October 2016. The trial is expected to last two weeks.

Horvat’s trial was originally scheduled to begin in early 2019, but due to controversial issues in the pre-trial process, it was postponed to the fall of 2019, and then to 2020, when the pandemic closed the courts. The trial was delayed indefinitely amid a backlog of cases until a trial was scheduled for the end of 2020.

These issues included a very unusual petition in 2020 from the Monroe County Attorney’s Office to exclude the Public Defender’s Office from representing the interests of the Croat, who still asked for a new lawyer appointed by the court. Assistant Public Defender Chandra Bliss filed a petition in 2017 asking President Judge Margarita Patti-Worthington to appoint an outside lawyer for the Croat, saying she could not handle the Croatian case along with the rest of her heavy workload, but it was denied.

The district prosecutor’s request prompted the judge to reprimand the prosecutor’s office for their criticism, but it was unable to reject the district prosecutor’s office and call the Prosecutor General’s Office. Patti-Worthington has appointed Stroudsburg attorney Janet Jackson and David Churundal, both attorneys certified for the death penalty, to represent Croatia.

A few months after Horvat was charged, prosecutors announced they would seek the death penalty, but as the trial approached trial without trial. jury.

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Jackson said the trial avoids complications associated with settling jurors qualified for the death penalty and will lead to a faster resolution. The Croat, who has agreed to a trial, faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment and potentially additional sentences for related charges, including kidnapping, forgery of evidence and mockery of a corpse.

Prosecutors have previously suggested abolishing the death penalty in the case if it reveals the whereabouts of the rest of Grimm’s body, only half of which was found in the woods near his property. Gov. Tom Wolfe signed a moratorium on the death penalty in 2015, and Pennsylvania has not executed since 1999.

Although investigators say Grimm was abducted at her home in Lower Makungi, they say evidence shows he killed her and buried her on his property in Monroe County. Her remains were found in an area 4 by 4 feet behind Horvath’s property in the Sailorsburg area of ​​Ross. According to the court, other evidence was found during the search of Horvat’s house, including restrictions and a DVD about “murder”, “sexual deviations” and “hunting for people”. Police also say there is evidence that he harassed Grimm and other women.

Grimm and Horvath worked in one shift at Allen Organ Co., and he was one of several employees who were late or absent from work on the day Grimm’s disappearance. Court records show he was questioned shortly after she went missing and claimed that on the way to work he had a flat tire and he decided to turn around and return home. Police later compared the DNA that Horvath voluntarily gave a bloodstain to Grimm’s door.

Jackson, his court-appointed lawyer, declined to talk about defense strategies in the trial, saying it would be inappropriate. Horvath’s previous lawyers sought to uncover some of the evidence, arguing that they did not have enough time to thoroughly investigate Grimm’s house. One of the problems is the barn behind Grimm’s house, where police believe Horvath was hiding while waiting to be abducted, according to court records. The barn was demolished shortly after Horvath’s arrest, and defenders said more information about the barn would help Horvath’s case.

Although Pennsylvania’s laws on the privileges of a spouse do not allow prosecutors to force a Croatian wife to testify against him, her words may still be part of the protocol submitted by prosecutors. This is because authorities recorded Horvath in phone calls from prison to his wife with instructions to sell his property, including a trailer and barn, according to prosecutors he used in the crime.

The morning call reporter Peter Hall can be reached at 610-820-6581 or

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