Today, a professor of ethics was discussing the story of Gina Grant, a straight-A student, aged 14, who stabbed her mother to death by a crystal candlestick with the help of her boyfriend who tried to present it as a suicide; Grant got her Harvard acceptance revoked at 19.

As the discussion goes the professor mentions that she served 12 months in prison. Then I started a debate saying that it is impossible to kill in america and serve only 12 months in prison, especially that this sounds like a first degree murder planned already with an accomplice.

Notability, from murderpedia.org:

Status: Grant pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter and was sentenced to a year in juvenile detention, with probation until age 18

Did Grant serve only 1 year in prison for killing her mother?

  • 3
    Reading the news headlines should be enough to show that is quite possible to kill in America, and never serve any time at all.
    – jamesqf
    Commented Jun 4, 2015 at 18:38
  • Is there anything additional that you want in an answer? Commented Jun 11, 2015 at 18:33

1 Answer 1


Less, actually. According to the New York Times, she only served 8 months although she was indeed charged with 12 months at the sentencing (some accounts also render the number as six months served). I have not found any documentation as to how she got early release, but general wisdom seems to be that each day of good behavior acts as two days of sentence for most crimes, so she would only have had to have been well-behaved for four of the eight months if that were the case.

Whether or not she actually planned the murder did not really enter into sentencing since she pleaded down to involuntary manslaughter, which has no minimum sentencing.

SECTION 16-3-60. Involuntary manslaughter; "criminal negligence" defined.

With regard to the crime of involuntary manslaughter, criminal negligence is defined as the reckless disregard of the safety of others. A person charged with the crime of involuntary manslaughter may be convicted only upon a showing of criminal negligence as defined in this section. A person convicted of involuntary manslaughter must be imprisoned not more than five years.

With the court records sealed, it's hard to say why they might have gone with "involuntary manslaughter". Manslaughter (a more likely crime for beating someone to death with a candlestick) currently carries a two year minimum sentence (I don't know if it was different then), so the sentence would have been longer if she had been convicted of that. It's possible, also, that juvenile offenses might be treated differently. Nevertheless, the truth may never be known for anyone not directly involved with the case or with access to those sealed files.


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