Family of Lapeer County man sentenced to life in prison for murder react to conviction reversal

Published: Jun. 14, 2018 at 1:07 AM EDT
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(06/13/2018) - A potential second chance, as a local murder case is showcased on a popular crime show.

The conviction of a Lapeer County man, reversed by the Michigan Court of Appeals.

Kenneth Grondin III is serving out a life sentence, accused in the 2011 shooting death of his girlfriend, Andrea Eilber.

The decision comes, as cable's Investigation Discovery Channel, puts the spotlight on the case.

The show called "Reasonable Doubt" focused it's June 13th episode on Grondin, re-examining the murder, seven years later.

A screening of the program was held at a local bar in Dryden Wednesday night.

After combing through the 26-page opinion we learned that the defendant, Kenneth Grondin III, known by his family as "KC", argued that the jury verdict form used in his trial was faulty.

He argued that it did not allow for a general verdict of "not guilty" or include a "not guilty" option for the lesser offense of second-degree murder.

The Court agreed, deciding that the verdict form was defective, and his constitutional right to a trial by jury was violated.

Grondin, who was 19-years old at the time, was convicted of first degree murder in the shooting death of his 20-year old girlfriend Andrea Eilber.

She was shot while house sitting for her aunt and uncle in Mayfield Township back in 2011.

Grondin's family has long maintained he didn't do it, hiring a private investigator after his conviction and offering a reward for whoever could prove his innocence.

The conviction has now been reversed, however, on a technicality.

We talked with family and friends at the bar in Dryden Wednesday night to see how they felt about the reversal and the call for a new trial.

"I was elated, but there were a lot of other problems with the case too," said Dryden resident Bob Weingartz, who is also a friend of the family.

"The way I felt about it through the whole trial was that there's no possible way that they can convict this boy, and when the jury found him guilty," he said,"they couldn't have been in the same court room that I was in."

Carl Grondin Sr, the defendant's grandfather, said he was "just ecstatic and spent half the day crying," when he learned of the court's decision.

"It's just the start," he said, "but we're never going to quit. We're going to get him out and we're going to solve this case. We know that murderer is out there,if he hasn't even done it again, and there's more than one person involved in it so we're going to find him."

We also reached out the family of the victim, Andrea Eilber.

They declined our request for an interview.

We've also called the State Attorney's Office to see if they plan to appeal the reversal.

We're still waiting to hear back from them.

We also learned that the investigators, hired by the cable show producers, believed that the there was a wrongful conviction in this case.