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The Cedar Rapids Gazette -Iowa City
February 17, 1996
Author: Dave Gosch; Gazette staff writer
SIGOURNEY – Maria Allar’s fatal attraction for Larry Grove began with a crush she developed for him at age 7. The crush blossomed into romance a couple of years ago when the two began dating and apparently turned into obsession when Grove broke off the relationship late last fall. Figuring out how that led to Grove’s murder this week, though, is difficult, according Oskaloosa attorney Lance Grotewold, who represents the 19-year-old Sigourney woman accused of planning her former boyfriend’s murder.
“From an adult perspective, you can’t make sense of it. You’re trying to rationalize an irrational act,” he said. Grotewold said his client, who is charged with second-degree murder, will most likely testify that she plotted with Jesse James Jackson, 24, to kill Grove, 29.
Allar told authorities this week that Jackson, who is charged with first-degree murder, shot Grove to death on Valentine’s Day. Grove’s body was found in a field near his car south of Sigourney. Grotewold said he expects Allar will plead guilty to the second-degree murder charge at the earliest possible date. The charge carries a 50-year prison sentence, which could be reduced by half or more through good time and possible parole.
“Because of her age and emotional state, I think second-degree (murder) is the proper sanction,” Grotewold said. “If she can pay the price that society deserves and wants, she can still come out and perhaps have a life and be somebody who gives something back to society.”
Allar has told authorities she and Jackson followed Grove when he left Sigourney Wednesday morning to go to college classes in Ottumwa, according to court documents on file in Keokuk County District Court in Sigourney. They signaled Grove to stop, and there was a brief discussion between Allar and Grove before Jackson began shooting, according to Grotewold.
Authorities have stated Allar had been asking her friends for the last two weeks if they knew someone who would kill Grove for her. Grotewold said Friday that Allar met Jackson about six weeks ago in Oskaloosa. Jackson, of Rose Hill, had dated one of Allar’s friends for a while and allegedly offered to kill Grove in exchange for money.
Grotewold would not say if Allar gave Jackson money or if the two had agreed upon an amount. Allar and Grove dated for two years before he broke off the relationship late last fall, Grotewold said. That caused Allar, a former high school honor student and all-state volleyball player, to fall into a depression. She quit college and withdrew from friends and family. Her parents, Tom and Janice Allar, sought help for their daughter through counseling. She also began taking medication for her depression.
“This was her first and only true love,” Grotewold said. “Obviously, she was totally absorbed with him and thought the only future for herself was with him.” Allar’s obsession came to a head Nov. 25 when she was charged with breaking into the Grove home and threatening Grove with a shotgun. She was put on probation and ordered to stay away from Grove. The probation was revoked after she was cited for confronting Grove at a Sigourney convenience store in December.
Grotewold said it appeared Allar had overcome her obsession with Grove just days before the murder. She’d enrolled in classes at Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa, where Grove also was a student. But unknown to her parents, Allar had begun to plot. She asked several Sigourney young people for their assistance in obtaining revenge against her former love, Grotewold said. “This could have been avoided,” said Grotewold, who said he doesn’t understand why the young people didn’t go to the authorities with that information. Following Grove’s murder, Allar became hysterical and told her mother about the shooting, according to Grotewold. Deputies took Allar to the sheriff’s office, where she broke into sobs and became incoherent. The family arranged for her to be interviewed by Grotewold at his office. After several hours, Grotewold made arrangements for her to surrender Wednesday evening.
Copyright (c) 1996, 2000 Cedar Rapids Gazette
Record Number: 164448