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Missouri Man Gets Life Sentence for Murdering Three Generations of His Family

Grayden Denham.

Grayden Denham.

A Missouri man received a 115-year prison sentence on top of four life terms for murdering three generations of his own family. Platte County jurors convicted Grayden Denham, 30, in December for killing his sister Heather Ager, 32, her son Mason Shiavoni, 3 months old, and his grandparents Russell Denham, 82, and Shirley Denham, 81. Defendant Denham even killed the family dog Jack, hence his conviction of animal abuse amid charges of first-degree murder, armed criminal actions, second-degree arson, and stealing.

He shot each of the victims in the head and set fire to his grandparents’ home, where firefighters responded on Feb. 19, 2016, according to local media reports. There were pennies on the eyes of the victims, or nearby. Defendant Denham’s ex-girlfriend testified The Boondock Saints was one of his favorite movies. The gun-toting protagonist brothers of the film put pennies on the eyes of some men they killed.

“These were shocking and gruesome murders of a loving family,” Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd said in a statement.

He had been having friction with his family before the murders, prosecutors said. For example, he argued with his grandfather the day before the killings. There was also evidence he used meth.

After the killings, Denham drove his grandparents’ car 1,000 miles away to Arizona. He had previously purchased gas cans, filling them with diesel. Denham switched license plates on the vehicle twice with ones he stole from Oklahoma and Texas, authorities said. He was ultimately found wandering naked near an elementary school, authorities said. The court found him competent to stand trial in 2021.

[Mugshot via Platte County Jail]

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