Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Susan Grund, Oversexed Murderess

Meeting Jimmy

Jimmy Grund agreed to a blind date with Susan in the summer of 1984 after his friends convinced him that she was sexy. They didn't mention that she would be wearing a pregnancy smock.

It didn't matter. Grund was enticed.

What did he see in her? Her age, for one thing.

He was pushing toward middle age at 39 and had begun to display the inevitable side effectsa thickening in the middle and a thinning on top. She was 25, and the 14 years between them were enough to inspire any older man's ego.

For her part, she found Grund sophisticated and worldly. It didn't hurt that he had moneyfar more than any other man with whom she had been intimate.

The attraction was practical, as well. She didn't want to face childbirth alone, and her other top prospect for male companionship at that point was an old flame with whom she had cheated on at least two of her husbands.

Jimmy Grund
Jimmy Grund

She opted for Grund. A few months after they met, Grund served as stand-in father during delivery of Susan's daughter, whom she named Tanelle. Days later, the couple and the baby traveled to Florida, where they were married on December 6 in an oceanside rite at Flagler Beach.

In the early months of the marriage, Susan set a goal to regain custody of her son, Jacob, who was living with his father in Oklahoma City. Jimmy Grund proved to be a useful tool for Susan's endeavor.

Of course, this required Susan to reveal her criminal conviction for child abuse. She presented herself to her new husband as a victim of overzealous prosecutiona scapegoat in a tragic accident.

For 11 years as a prosecutor, Grund had heard a variation on this sort of protest from scores of criminals he'd faced in court. As a sage attorney, he had the wherewithal to reach out to Oklahoma authorities to get a second perspective on the brutal assault on Susan's stepson. He apparently did not do so.

Blindly in love, he used his money and persuasion to get Jacob back into Susan's arms. In Oklahoma City, Gary Campbell, Susan's truck-driving ex, was having financial problems. According to author Clarkson, Jimmy Grund sent several checks to Campbell to help him catch up. Grund then arranged a job for Campbell in Logansport, Ind., near Peru. The father and son moved there, and Susan became caretaker for Jacob.

Soon, Campbell met and married an Indiana woman, and the fledgling couple decided they were better off without the baggage of the boy.

Campbell signed over custody of Jacob, with Grund handling the legal paperwork, and returned to Oklahoma with his new wife. The Grunds also convinced Tom Whited to sign over permanent custody of his daughter Tanelle.

Susan Grund seemed to have everything she wanted, including an affluent lifestyle far removed from her humble childhood.

But it wasn't enough.