Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Tanya Flowerday: Snuff Victim?


Until December 17, 2003, Ronald Grimsley made numerous appearances in the magistrates' court as the case was postponed for various reasons. Then the case was referred to the Johannesburg High Court, where the postponements continued. Throughout this period he remained in custody.

On March 17, 2004, Grimsley was allowed to be sent for psychological evaluation on request of his attorney. On April 19, a trial date was set for August 30. Due to a full court roll, however, the trial would actually only start on the 31st.

Grimsley was charged with murder, rape, indecent assault and aggravated robbery. Although he initially pled guilty, following consultation with his attorney, Charles Thompson, he changed his plea to not guilty, claiming that he was not of sound and sober senses at the time of the crime.

State Advocate Joan Spies argued that Grimsley had become angry when Tanya rebuffed his advances and refused to have sex with him. He then brutally forced himself on her, ultimately killing her. The prosecutor managed to unsettle him during cross-examination, causing him to erupt, "I'll go sit in prison for life! I'll accept twenty-five years!" according to the Beeld of September 4, 2004.

On September 6, according to the Beeld of the next day, Grimsley ended his testimony by saying, "I'm sorry, Mr. and Mrs. Flowerday, If it's your wish that I die, I will."

The Flowerdays responded simultaneously with, "It's too late!"

Tanya's parents leave court
Tanya's parents leave court

Later that day Mr Justice Fritz van Oosten ordered Grimsley to undergo psychiatric evaluation for 30 days at the Sterkfontein Psychiatric Hospital in Klerksdorp. He wanted the psychiatrists to determine the merits of Grimsley's "blackout" defense and whether he had known what he was doing during the murder.

On November 10, Grimsley was sent for another month's evaluation, since only two psychiatrists had evaluated him and the law requires that it be done by three mental professionals.

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