The Death of Christopher Grover Is a Murder Mystery that Confounds Poughkeepsie, New York
An episode of CBS's 48 Hours investigates the murder of father that has "divided the community" in New York's Hudson Valley around Poughkeepsie.
CBS will investigate the death of Christopher Grover who was found dead from a gunshot wound in the Town of Poughkeepsie home he shared with Nicole Addimando, a 2007 FDR graduate in 2017.
"To some, Nicole (“Nikki”) Addimando is a young mother who shot her abusive partner in self-defense when she feared he would take her life. To others, she is a murderer who took the life of Chris Grover, a father and popular gymnastics coach in Poughkeepsie, New York. Now, 48 HOURS and correspondent Jericka Duncan investigate their relationship and the night Grover died in “The Case Against Nicole Addimando,” a preview for the segment states.
At the time of his murder, Grover was the head-coach at Mr. Todd’s Gymnastics in Poughkeepsie. According to his obituary, Grover graduated from Red Hook High School in 2006. He previously coached gymnastics at Fly High Gymnastics in Red Hook.
After Grover's death, investigators began what was described as a "painstaking six-month investigation" involving phone records, internet searches, computer forensics, dozens of interviews, and more to determine there were inconsistencies in Addimando's alleged history of abuse and her claims of self-defense. There was also overwhelming evidence the murder was intentional, officials say.
Evidence at the trial proved Grover was killed by a point-blank shot to his head while he was sleeping on his couch, officials say.
In April 2018, a Dutchess County jury found Addimando guilty of murder after three days of deliberation.
“The defendant’s allegations of abuse and self-defense were exhaustively investigated for two years by many detectives and law enforcement agencies.” Putnam County District Attorney Robert Tendy said. “We took the defendant’s claims of abuse very seriously. In the end, everything pointed to the fact that Christopher Grover was asleep when the defendant executed him, and there was no evidence that he had ever abused her. In fact, there was evidence that she was extremely verbally abusive to him and planned the murder in advance. Fortunately, she didn’t get away with it. The jury reviewed the extensive forensic evidence and trial testimony and unanimously rejected the defendant’s claims.”
The Putnam District Attorney’s office was named special prosecutor on the case due to a conflict with the Dutchess County District Attorney’s office.
In February, Addimando was sentenced to 19-years to life in prison.
CBS reports the death "divided the community."
“Nikki is the most gentle, loving friend we’ve ever had,” friend Rachel Hawkes told CBS. While Gail Grover, Chris Grover’s mother, said to CBS, “My son never hurt anybody. He lived for Nikki. He lived for those kids.”
You can see a preview of the CBS segment below:
Addimando hoped to be considered for a shorter sentence under a new law, the Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act. Last May, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act. According to the governor's office, the bill orders sentence reductions for domestic abuse survivors.
Before her sentencing, a Dutchess County judge ruled Addimando will not receive a shorter sentence under the Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act.
“We are deeply disappointed in the Court’s decision involving domestic violence survivor Nikki Addimando," Sanctuary for Families, a non-profit that helps survivors of domestic abuse, said in a statement. "The Court failed to take into account the complexities of coercive control, trauma bonding, and a life-long history of severe and repeated trauma, which are central to an understanding of the full nature and circumstances of this case and Ms. Addimando’s actions. The Domestic Violence Justice Survivors Act (DVSJA) was intended for cases just like this one. Given the extensive evidence presented at trial of repeated sexual and physical abuse spanning virtually her entire life, it is difficult to understand the Court’s conclusion that both the letter and spirit of the Act do not apply in Ms. Addimando’s case.”