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Missouri man who killed 4 family members--including baby--gets 4 life sentences without parole

Grayden Denham
Grayden Denham(KCTV5)
Published: Feb. 25, 2022 at 3:35 PM CST
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PLATTE COUNTY, Mo. (KCTV) - The Platte County man who killed his sister, her baby and his two grandparents in 2016 was sentenced Friday morning to four life sentences, plus 115 years.

Family members say the bodies of 32-year-old Heather Denham and her baby, Mason, were found in...
Family members say the bodies of 32-year-old Heather Denham and her baby, Mason, were found in the rubble of a house fire in 2016, along with the bodies of Heather's grandparents.(Kevin Shelton)

Grayden Denham was convicted in December of 10 felonies, including arson, armed criminal action and four counts of first-degree murder. Prosecutors said Denham, now 30, shot each victim in the head before burning their bodies and the house where the crime was committed.

“This defendant massacred his entire family, including the family dog,” said Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd. “I believe this is the only quadruple homicide in Platte County history. We can pray it is the last. But it’s right and just that the man responsible will die in prison for his horrific crimes.”

Firefighters responded to the scene on Feb. 19, 2016, because of the house fire. There they discovered the bodies of Russell and Shirley Denham, along with their 32-year-old granddaughter Heather and Heather’s 3-month-old baby son Mason Schiavoni. They had all been shot and then set on fire near the home, according to the prosecutor.

Two pennies were found on or near the eyes of each victim. Denham’s former girlfriend later testified that one of Denham’s favorite movies was The Boondock Saints, in which the killers placed pennies on the eyes of their victims after shooting them.

The motive was never fully clear, but witnesses in the case said there were rising tensions between Denham and his family before the shootings. He was seen arguing with his grandfather Russell the day before the murders. Denham had also been using methamphetamine, evidence from the case showed.

After the murders were uncovered, Denham was found shortly afterward wandering naked near an elementary school 1,000 miles away in Arizona. He had allegedly stolen his grandfather’s car to make the trip. Tips from a motel manager led investigators to him. Denham was placed under arrest and charged with the theft of the vehicle. He was later charged with his family members’ murders.

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