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Self-defense or homicide? Taking pictures loss of life divides a neighborhood

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To some, Nicole “Nikki” Addimando is a younger mom who shot her abusive accomplice in self-defense when she feared he would take her life. To others, she is a assassin who took the lifetime of Chris Grover, a father and widespread gymnastics coach in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

The loss of life of Chris and the authorized proceedings towards Nikki have divided the neighborhood, and hinge on the query of whether or not Nikki murdered Chris or whether or not she was, as she argues, performing in self-defense towards an abusive accomplice.

NIKKI AND CHRIS

At 2 a.m. on September 28, 2017, Police Officer Richard Sisilli encountered a automobile stopped at a purple gentle. The sunshine turned inexperienced, and when the automobile did not transfer, Officer Sisilli says he tooted an airhorn to get the motive force’s consideration. What occurred subsequent shocked him.

An agitated younger mom named Nicole Addimando, in stocking ft, informed him one thing had gone terribly improper at residence.

OFFICER RICHARD SISILLI [dashcam video]: It’s good to calm down, OK. Simply take a couple of deep breaths.

NIKKI ADDIMANDO: He is laying on the sofa, he is simply laying there …

She mentioned she’d been abused, had tried to depart … and her boyfriend had a gun.

addimando-dashcam.jpg
Nikki Addimando has by no means denied capturing her boyfriend Chris Grover. She admits to pulling the set off, however informed police she did it in self-defense as a result of she was afraid for her life.

Putnam County District Lawyer’s Workplace


NIKKI ADDIMANDO: He mentioned when you go away I will kill you…I picked it up and he mentioned you would not do it…and… oh my god, oh my god …

Putnam County Chief Assistant District Lawyer Chana Krauss would quickly be investigating Nikki’s story. 

Chana Krauss: Police Officer Sisilli, I believe, is in shock that that is unfolding earlier than him. … He does not know if there’s an ambulance that is obligatory. … There are two kids within the automobile.

Nikki had referred to as a good friend. Seen on the police dashcam video, the good friend, Elizabeth Clifton. pulls up and officers ask her to attend in a close-by parking zone.

Elizabeth Clifton: I watched all these autos go by. Police emergency autos going by.

Elizabeth Clifton: And sooner or later I noticed that the ambulance went again the opposite manner, and it did not have its lights on. So, I used to be afraid … I used to be afraid of what had occurred.

The officers went to Nikki’s house and located her accomplice Chris Grover, who gave the impression to be sleeping on the sofa, useless, with a single gunshot to the pinnacle. They discovered the bathe working and a damaged laptop computer within the bathtub.

They introduced Nikki to the police station, the place she was interrogated by detectives, and Elizabeth discovered Chris was useless.

Elizabeth Clifton: I by no means in one million years had a concern that he would die. I used to be afraid she would die daily.

Not lengthy afterward, Gail Grover received a heartbreaking go to from the sheriff.

Gail Grover | Chris’s mom: He informed us that Chris had handed. And my first query was, “are Nikki and the children OK?” That proper there tells you we had no clue.

No clue, says Gail, that something was amiss in her son’s life. She describes Chris as type and athletic. He had a black belt in Taekwondo and was head gymnastics coach at Mr. Todd’s Health club in Poughkeepsie. Beth Whalen coached with him there.

Beth Whalen: He was all the time so blissful and … filled with power, I imply, he was like a rocket working across the health club. … he was an enormous child at coronary heart. Large child.

Nikki Addimando and Chris Grover
Nikki Addimando and Chris Grover

Laura Mocodeanu


And that is the place, in 2008, he met a reasonably younger coach named Nicole Addimando. He was 21, she was 19. Quickly they started relationship. The couple did not marry, however in 2012, they moved in collectively and introduced Nikki was anticipating their first little one, son Ben.

Jericka Duncan | “CBS This Morning” nationwide correspondent: Was he enthusiastic about being a dad?

Gail Grover: Completely ecstatic. … He was a proud papa.

Chris, a gifted novice videographer, made a video for Nikki, which he referred to as: Changing into Mother. Two years later, daughter Faye got here alongside.

Gail Grover: These youngsters have been all the things to him.

And to Nikki, too. Gail says Nikki was a superb mother. Elizabeth Clifton taught a Mommy and Me music class Nikki attended with Ben.

Elizabeth Clifton: One time she got here to class with what appeared to me like a black eye. … she coated herself utterly. … and even in the summertime, she’d be carrying lengthy sleeves, lengthy pants, have a shawl masking round her neck.

Nikki’s childhood mates Laura Mocodeanu and Rachel Hawkes additionally seen accidents, however did not press her.

Laura Mocodeanu: I might discover a bruise, you realize, however … she would usually say, you realize, “Oh, I used to be taking part in with Ben and I received hit by his guitar.” You understand?  It was all the time one thing that, to me, on the time appeared very –

Rachel Hawkes: It was believable.

Laura Mocodeanu: — believable, um … I did not assume twice about it.

Then, someday, a mother from the health club the place Chris coached heard about Nikki’s accidents. She’d seen Chris lose his mood up to now with younger gymnasts in his class. Involved, she made an nameless report back to Youngster Protecting Providers, or CPS. As required by legislation, CPS visited Nikki and Chris’s house. Earlier than lengthy, Chris was useless, and Nikki was making an attempt to elucidate why.

NIKKI ADDIMANDO [police questioning]: He confronted me after which he appeared up for a second and I … shot him.

Chana Krauss: I believe she thought she received them to consider that she had acted out in self-defense, versus deliberately killed Chris Grover.

NIKKI ADDIMANDO [police questioning]: It is like, clearly self-defense, proper?

Chana Krauss: I believe she thought she was going residence that evening.

DET. HONKALA: Alright so, clearly it is a, you realize, a critical scenario …

Nikki Addimando mug shot
Nikki Addimando was charged with second-degree homicide within the loss of life of her accomplice Chris Grover.

Putnam County District Lawyer’s Workplace


However Nikki didn’t go residence that evening. As an alternative, she was charged with second-degree homicide in Chris’s loss of life.

Jericka Duncan: What did you assume once they charged Nikki with homicide?

Elizabeth Clifton: I used to be heartbroken.

KILL OR BE KILLED?

Just a few weeks after Chris Grover’s loss of life, mates, household and former college students, like Mikayla Hughes, gathered to launch balloons in his honor. 

Mikayla Hughes: He all the time mentioned, “Let’s go child…”  And it felt very nice to know that, like, I wasn’t alone, and all of us have been feeling the identical factor.

Supporters of Nikki Addimando have been reeling, too. Her arrest for Chris’s homicide prompted an outcry from mates, household and advocates for victims of domestic violence.

ELIZABETH CLIFTON [speaking at vigil for Nikki]: For selecting to defend herself and survive, Nikki might spend the following 20 years to life in jail.

Elizabeth Clifton started organizing rallies and fundraisers, and likewise reliving the years of terror she says she went by way of with Nikki starting in April 2016, when she determined to confront Nikki about her accidents.

Elizabeth Clifton: And I mentioned to her that I am actually … scared for you, and I — I am nervous that you simply’re not protected at residence.

Elizabeth says Nikki reluctantly admitted her accomplice Chris was abusing her.

Elizabeth Clifton: … it wasn’t like floodgates. I might say a slight trickle of acknowledging that, sure, this was taking place … feeling so scared.

Rachel Louise Snyder: Nikki’s case stood out to me … due to the extent of violence that was concerned.

Rachel Louise Snyder is a journalist who spent 10 years learning home violence for a e book referred to as “No Seen Bruises.” As a part of her analysis on Nikki’s case for a New Yorker article, she learn the complete courtroom report and interviewed dozens of individuals. She says Nikki alleged Chris compelled himself on her sexually however did not grow to be violent till after son Ben was born. 

Rachel Louise Snyder: And he slammed her head into the doorframe of Ben’s room after which raped her. 

It occurred once more, mentioned Nikki, virtually two years later, when she was pregnant with Faye. She sought medical consideration at Vassar Brothers Hospital in Poughkeepsie.

Rachel Louise Snyder: And a few days later …  she was standing within the kitchen making eggs for Ben. And Chris allegedly got here in and mentioned, “You higher be making some for me.”  And she or he mentioned, “Sure, sir!” fairly sarcastically. He compelled her to the bottom, and took a spoon, and held it into the — gasoline flame, and burned her throughout her physique with it.

Once more, Nikki sought medical consideration. The report from the examination states assailant named Chris “heated up a steel utensil on the gasoline range”… and burned Nikki … “in a number of areas of her physique.” 

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Nikki Addimando testified that Chris Grover raped her and left her tied her up, typically for hours, leading to purple marks to her wrists. Prosecutors disputed this story. 

John Ingrassia and Benjamin Ostrer, Protection Attorneys


Elizabeth Clifton: He was, so far as I perceive … tying her up … I keep in mind seeing the marks round her neck and wrists. … what he was doing was raping her.

Nikki feared Chris was videotaping the encounters. Elizabeth says she and Nikki’s therapist pushed Nikki to press prices.

Rachel Louise Snyder: A number of folks, actually, tried to get her to file police experiences, and she or he was simply petrified. She mentioned that Chris would inform her that no one would consider her. And she or he does not need her youngsters taken away from her. She knew she was in peril.

Nikki Addimando and Chris Grover
Nikki Addimando and Chris Grover

The Poughkeepsie Journal/Peter Grover


Elizabeth tried to assist Nikki go away, and in the summertime of 2016, Nikki did pack the children within the automobile and drive over to Elizabeth’s home. 

Elizabeth Clifton: One of many hardest issues I’ve ever skilled is that she would come and she or he’d drive and she or he’d decelerate … after which, after which go once more.

Rachel Louise Snyder: She noticed Nikki drive previous her home again and again for hours, and she or he was on the cellphone saying, “Simply are available in.  Simply come within the entrance door,” and Nikki simply could not do it.  And that is what a home violence sufferer leaving appears to be like like. It appears to be like like a sequence of false begins. On this mindset, her terror of him is stronger than her perception that the system will save her.

Within the months earlier than Chris died, Nikki sought medical assist 3 times from a midwife who famous a number of accidents.

In Could, “rope-like burns”… states Chris has a gun and makes use of it “in my physique.” 

In June, “vulva” … “swollen” … appears to be like “inside out.” 

In August, “bruised and bleeding” … “Chris at gunpoint raped her.” 

Then, in September, got here that nameless name to Youngster Protecting Providers.

Rachel Louise Snyder: CPS … referred to as Nikki and Chris and mentioned, “We’re gonna come by and interview you tomorrow. … out of the blue there have been exterior eyes on them.

Nikki mentioned Chris left the home that day with a bag filled with proof of abuse, presumably to eliminate it. The subsequent day, CPS carried out its residence go to. Afterwards, Chris went to work, and got here residence that evening in a quiet temper. At one level, Nikki mentioned he referred to as her into the bed room, the place he was loading his gun.

Rachel Louise Snyder: And he needs her to attempt to load it. And he provides her a bullet and apparently, she’s shaking.

In accordance with Nikki, she later took a bathe. And sooner or later, Chris threw the laptop computer within the tub.  She mentioned he compelled her to have intercourse with him on the sofa however was unusually light.

Rachel Louise Snyder: And if you’re a home violence sufferer and … somebody who’s normally … very violent with you is out of the blue light, you are gonna get that message. You are gonna perceive instantly that that could be a goodbye.

Nikki mentioned she lay for some time on high of Chris, and believed he was asleep. When she tried to stand up, he pulled the gun from behind the sofa cushions. Nikki mentioned she received the gun away and pointed it at him.

Rachel Louise Snyder: She mentioned he laughed at her, after which he mentioned, “Here is what’s gonna occur. You are gonna give me the gun and I am gonna kill you, after which I am gonna kill myself, and the children are gonna have nobody.” And she or he mentioned she simply lunged and shot — shot him within the head.

Nikki’s supporters say her selection that evening was easy: both kill or be killed.

A LOOK AT THE EVIDENCE

In March 2019, Nikki Addimando, out on bail on the time, went on trial for the homicide of her accomplice Chris Grover. Mates and advocates, carrying purple, the colour for victims of home violence, lined up in help.

They stood facet by facet with loyal Chris supporters, heartbroken to study Nikki’s protection would hinge on allegations that he abused her.

Jericka Duncan: What would you like folks to know?

Gail Grover: Chris did not do that. I believe she was searching for consideration, and she or he received it. My son by no means harm anyone. And that is the underside line.

Video cameras weren’t allowed contained in the courtroom on the Dutchess County Courthouse in Poughkeepsie. Prosecutors argued that Nikki painted herself as a sufferer, however her allegations of abuse have been unfaithful.

Chana Krauss: She was not the sufferer on this case. Chris was the sufferer on this case. And that grew to become very, very obvious.

Prosecutor Chana Krauss has spent a lot of her profession advocating for victims of sexual violence.

Krauss informed jurors the bodily proof was overwhelming – beginning with the truth that Chris was killed with a direct contact wound to the pinnacle.

Chana Krauss: The medical expert testified that — the muzzle of the gun that was imprinted in Chris’s head meant it … was embedded in his head when she … pulled the set off.

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Officers discovered a laptop computer submerged within the bathtub. Protection attorneys argued that Chris Grover broke the laptop computer and submerged it, maybe to destroy proof. The laptop computer was recovered and no proof of abuse was discovered. Nikki Addimando testified that Grover disposed of onerous drives containing proof the day earlier than she shot him.

Putnam County District Lawyer’s Workplace


Krauss mentioned Nikki – not Chris – threw the laptop computer within the tub in an try and make it appear like Chris had proof to cover.

 Chana Krauss: She did not count on the laptop computer to be recovered in a manner that we may nonetheless look at it and decide that there was completely no proof of abuse on that laptop computer.

And Krauss offered a sequence of texts Nikki despatched Chris simply days earlier than he died, calling him an “asshole manchild” and asking “WTF is improper with you?” “Are you this silly?”

Chana Krauss: She was the one who was abusing him in these messages once they communicated all through the day.

Then there have been web searches on Chris’s cellphone the evening he died. Krauss believes Nikki made them.

Chana Krauss: “For those who shoot somebody of their sleep, will the police know?” … Fifteen minutes of searches … which can be a roadmap to precisely how he was murdered.

Much more damning was a textual content Nikki despatched a good friend six weeks earlier.

 Chana Krauss [reading text]: “I have not discovered a method to kill him with out being caught, so I am nonetheless right here.”

Nikki punctuated the textual content with a grimace emoji, which her legal professionals say clearly reveals she was joking.

Chana Krauss: But, a number of weeks later, he was useless. In order that’s fairly a coincidence.

Krauss acknowledges Nikki had a traumatic expertise when she was 5 years outdated.  Nikki was raped on a sleepover at a good friend’s home. The rape was witnessed by one other little one. Nikki did not inform anybody on the time, however her mates say it had a long-lasting influence.

Laura Mocodeanu: … so, if we needed to have sleepovers with Nikki we might all the time go and sleep at her residence. She by no means, ever slept at certainly one of our homes.

Nikki mentioned the assault made her uncomfortable with intercourse as an grownup, which she confided to Chris once they started relationship.

Chana Krauss: For a couple of yr, they did not grow to be intimate as a result of he cared a lot about her. And that was who he was. He by no means modified.

Chris did not change, says Krauss, however Nikki grew into somebody who invented tales of abuse. She by no means reported these allegations to police, however the tales spilled out over time to mates and therapists. Krauss informed the jurors these accusations started earlier than Nikki met Chris, when she accused an ex-boyfriend of assaulting her.

Chana Krauss: What are they gonna assume, if she alleges each relationship she ever had was non-consensual, would they consider what she mentioned about Chris? 

Just a few years after she started relationship Chris practically a decade in the past, Nikki informed a therapist {that a} upkeep employee at her mom’s house complicated raped her. Nikki later mentioned her reminiscences of the time have been unclear, and she or he wasn’t certain which abuse was by the upkeep employee or Chris. 

Chana Krauss: How do you not… keep in mind which abuse was by the upkeep employee and which abuse was by your accomplice? The jury must assume, “is that this true?”

Across the similar time, Nikki met a married police officer who invited her to grow to be a live-in babysitter along with his household.

Chana Krauss: He was the mum or dad of a kid who was coached by the defendant and at one level — Chris Grover as nicely.

Krauss says they started a relationship that lasted a number of years, together with after Nikki lived with Chris and was pregnant with Ben. Nikki mentioned the married police officer additionally compelled himself on her sexually.

Gail Grover: There have been so many different males, so which one was she speaking about?

Nikki’s supporters insist these aren’t false allegations – they’re true. And creator Rachel Louise Snyder says little one victims of assault usually develop as much as grow to be victims once more.

Rachel Louise Snyder: The truth that Nikki was assaulted when she was 5 years outdated signifies that — as an grownup she’s put right into a a lot larger danger class. … The truth is, it could make her two-thirds extra prone to be victimized as an grownup.

However Prosecutor Krauss informed the jurors that in Nikki’s case, there may be proof her allegations have been false, and that her accidents usually had an harmless clarification.

Nikki Addimando
At Nikki Addimando’s trial, protection attorneys offered pictures of accidents she’d sustained over time, arguing that Chris Grover had precipitated these accidents. Prosecutors mentioned the accidents may have been unrelated or self-inflicted. 

John Ingrassia and Benjamin Ostrer, Protection Attorneys


Gail Grover: The bruise on the attention was from Ben hitting her within the eye with a guitar. It isn’t rocket science. It was witnessed to seeing Ben hit her with it.

The medical information weren’t clear-cut both, in accordance with Krauss, together with that first go to Nikki paid to the hospital when she was pregnant with Faye and was requested a sequence of inquiries to which she answered “no.”

Chana Krauss: Is abuse inflicted with instruments?  “No.” All proper, do you may have burns, or does he burn you? “No.”

Krauss says it wasn’t till Nikki returned a couple of days later {that a} nurse famous these burns.  

Jericka Duncan: So, what do you assume which means?

Chana Krauss: I believe she determined to return a second time and have the ability to reply, “sure” to each single a kind of questions.

Chana Krauss: … what she was saying was taking place was utterly inconsistent with the proof we have been discovering as our investigation went on.

And so, Nikki confronted an enormous danger that day when CPS got here calling, says Krauss – her innovations of abuse could be uncovered.  To Krauss, that was Nikki’s motive for homicide.

Chana Krauss: She was involved that Youngster Protecting Providers would know this — manipulated historical past that she put on the market was not truthful, and that she may lose her kids.

When seen on this gentle, Krauss argued, Nikki’s story of what occurred the evening Chris died shortly unravels. The gorgeous younger mom eliciting sympathy was by no means what she appeared.

 Chana Krauss: I believe folks want to grasp what actually occurred right here.

Jericka Duncan: And what actually occurred right here?

 Chana Krauss: Chris Grover was asleep when she killed him. That is what occurred right here.

NIKKI TAKES THE STAND

It was time for attorneys Jon Ingrassia and Ben Ostrer to current the protection case in Nikki Addimando’s homicide trial. They are saying she lived in fixed hazard and believed she would die the evening Chris Grover died.

John Ingrassia:  You have got a girl with no prior historical past of violence. No prior prison historical past in any respect.  

Ben Ostrer: We all know, that too usually … girls who’ve sought assist, find yourself in a physique bag. … That was what she was confronted with on that night.

That is what they would want to persuade a jury: that Nikki acted in self-defense, to save lots of her personal life. So, they referred to as witnesses to corroborate Nikki’s declare that she was brutally abused by Chris for years. 

Ben Ostrer: There have been … psychologists, nurse midwives who have been frightened of the abuse that Nikki was present process. There was — a police officer testified at our trial. He was able to ship cops … to impact an arrest. 

They produced pictures documenting Nikki’s accidents and argued that Nikki’s wounds couldn’t have been self-inflicted.

Ben Ostrer: Burns to the face to the purpose of leaving a blister. Burns to the breast.  

Rachel Louise Snyder: She had bitemarks on … her shoulder blades. You may’t attain your personal shoulder blades. 

Jericka Duncan: What in regards to the chew marks on her neck, on her again, locations that she could not attain? 

Chana Krauss: How are you aware if any of these accidents truly got here … from Chris and never one of many different people that she was claiming she was concerned in a relationship with? 

However Nikki’s legal professionals say the opposite males introduced up by the prosecution have been an try and create confusion, and that Nikki hadn’t had sexual relations with anybody however Chris for years earlier than his loss of life 

Ben Ostrer: In order that sort of fog that they created– was shaming Nikki, in a manner.

John Ingrassia: And it is not related to the case of whether or not Mr. Grover was victimizing her with intimate accomplice violence. 

They insisted the aggressive texts Nikki despatched Chris have been methods to stay up for herself, and mentioned she paid for them afterwards when Chris hit her.  

John Ingrassia: It isn’t unusual for folks to make use of phrases to combat again. 

The legal professionals reminded the jurors that the web searches about easy methods to kill somebody who’s sleeping — they have been made on Chris’ cellphone, with no proof that Nikki made them. And the medical expert testified there was no proof Chris was sleeping. 

Ben Ostrer: Physician Newman mentioned it may have occurred precisely the way in which Nikki mentioned it occurred.  

They referred to as Nikki herself to the stand, so the jurors may hear from her instantly. 

Jericka Duncan: What did you inform her day one, day two?

John Ingrassia: … to inform the reality. Simply to inform the reality. … The reality by no means modifications. … And Nikki’s story didn’t change.

Visibly shaken and typically in tears, Nikki informed the courtroom that Chris lashed out when he felt disrespected, beat her, raped her, choked her, and left her tied up for hours.

Nikki Addimando testifies
Nikki Addimando testified in her personal protection, and she or he acknowledged the love folks really feel in direction of Grover. “The identical factor everybody on this courtroom misses about him, I beloved too,” she informed the jury. “He was an incredible father… However he was completely different behind closed doorways.”

The Poughkeepsie Journal


For Laura Mocodeanu, watching her good friend tesify was heartbreaking.

Laura Mocodeanu: It was … three full days of her up there being interrogated and must relive the trauma that she skilled. 

Nikki informed the jurors that after Faye was born, Chris started watching pornography always, and would attempt to recreate the porn with Nikki. Nikki’s attorneys offered pictures – most too graphic to point out — which Nikki claimed Chris posted with out her consent on Pornhub, a pornographic video sharing web site. 

Rachel Louise Snyder: The movies had key phrases like “sure and pound,” or, “break a bitch,” or … simply actually ugly, disrespectful language.  

The jurors noticed the pictures, however they did not see the ugly phrases or the data on the submit in regards to the person who uploaded the pictures: somebody referred to as “groverespect” who, like Chris Grover, described himself as a 29-year-old cinematographer who beloved martial arts. The decide dominated there was no method to show Chris created it.

Ben Ostrer: Groverespect was who posted the Pornhub movies, which have been clearly our shopper, clearly filmed of their house, would definitely have indicated that Mr. Grover was a participant.  

There was different proof jurors didn’t see, together with the complete medical report from 2014, and the midwife exams documenting accidents the summer time earlier than Chris died. 

Rachel Louise Snyder: In some methods her case was lower off on the knees from the beginning.  

It isn’t unusual for some proof to be excluded at a homicide trial. And Prosecutor Chana Krauss believes this was excluded for good purpose. She argued that Nikki might have made the porn herself — there isn’t any method to establish a person within the pictures, and it wasn’t rape. 

Jericka Duncan [showing Krauss a photo of Nikki]: Does that appear like somebody is participating in a consensual act?  

Chana Krauss: I consider sh — that was consensual with Nikki, completely.

Nikki’s testimony might not have modified many minds.  

Gail Grover: She would say one factor after which within the subsequent breath she was saying one thing else. Proper on the stand, you would see that it wasn’t the reality. 

Music trainer Elizabeth Clifton did testify for Nikki’s protection, however wasn’t requested about all the things she’d seen, together with someday in 2016 when Nikki mentioned she was having a miscarriage.

Elizabeth Clifton: … the quantity of blood, identical to puddles of blood on the ground and her clothes stained … 

Elizabeth believes Chris’s abuse precipitated the miscarriage, and says Nikki was afraid to go to see a health care provider as a result of Chris would get offended.  

Elizabeth Clifton: I witnessed her endure by way of a horrible, painful — the place she was virtually unable to talk as a result of she was in a lot ache, um — miscarriage as a result of she was afraid to go to the hospital. 

Laura Mocodeanu didn’t testify on the trial, however a photograph of Nikki in a bridesmaid’s gown at Laura’s wedding ceremony was a protection exhibit to doc a burn on Nikki’s chest. Laura says it is an instance of how the prosecution – and never Nikki – manipulated the story.  

Chana Krauss: And she or he has what I consider was — a burn mark from a curling iron, as a result of her hair was clearly simply curled.  

Nikki’s hair was simply curled, says Laura, as a result of the bridal celebration had simply gone to the hair salon collectively. She says the mark was massive and oval formed and was already therapeutic once they received there.  

Laura Mocodeanu: It was a burn mark from a heated steel spoon. … There was no query.   

After 14 days of testimony, the case lastly went to the jurors, who must determine — was Nikki Addimando a terrified sufferer, or a manipulative liar?  

THE VERDICT

After three days of deliberations – lastly, a verdict. A jury of eight girls and 4 males rejected Nikki Addimando’s declare of self- protection and convicted her of prison possession of a weapon and second-degree homicide. 

John Ingrassia: It was like gettin’ punched within the abdomen actually onerous.  … this for her was the worst potential verdict. 

Laura Mocodeanu [crying]: It was traumatic. … She’s so tiny. And she or he’s sitting there … and other people considering she’s a prison. And I simply needed to hug her … and I could not. 

Chris Grover’s household and mates discovered some consolation ultimately.  

Gail Grover: Thank God any individual was listening, and for as soon as a little bit little bit of reduction, as a result of they’d drug Christopher’s identify by way of the mud so dangerous and turned him into this monster that he was not.  

Jericka Duncan: Did you’re feeling vindicated? 

Chris Grover
Household and mates of Chris Grover insist he was a superb man and father to the couple’s two younger kids. They didn’t consider he was able to such hurt.

Peter Grover


Chana Krauss: No, this was by no means about me. I felt blissful for Chris’s household. … They received to the purpose the place they heard the jury say “responsible.”  

However the case wasn’t over but. Underneath an up to date New York State legislation, the Home Violence Survivors Justice Act, Nikki was entitled to a different day in courtroom – a listening to the place her claims of home violence is likely to be factored in to cut back her sentence. 

Elizabeth Clifton: I wrote a letter to the decide explicitly saying, like, these are — these are the conditions through which …  it was particularly clear to me that it was Christopher Grover who was hurting her. 

Choose Edward McLoughlin, who additionally presided over Nikki’s homicide trial, heard from different witnesses and from the prosecutors who argued that Nikki wasn’t an actual sufferer, had entry to companies, and she or he may have left Chris at any time — together with the day he died. 

Chana Krauss: She had a automobile, she had the means to depart if she was involved. … if any of this have been truthful, she had the entire day to depart.   

However creator Rachel Louise Snyder does consider Nikki and says anticipating a sufferer of home violence to depart is misguided. 

Rachel Louise Snyder: Completely, you are most definitely to die leaving. The analysis factors to that time and again and over.  

addimandi-nikki-hero.jpg
 “This is the reason girls do not go away,” Nikki Addimando informed the courtroom at her sentencing. “They so usually find yourself useless or the place I am standing, alive, however nonetheless not free.”

Laura Mocodeanu


Snyder says Nikki did avail herself of companies, however particularly with two very younger kids at residence, she could not work out easy methods to get out alive. The truth is, on the evening Chris died, Nikki informed the cops that she requested Chris to let her go … not less than 17 occasions.

NIKKI ADDIMANDO [police dashcam video]: I simply mentioned, “let me go away and I will not inform anybody. “

NIKKI ADDIMANDO: I mentioned, “please let me go away, I will not inform anyone something.”

And, Nikki repeated that he mentioned, “you are not leaving.” 

NIKKI ADDIMANDO: I attempted to depart, he would not let me  

NIKKI ADDIMANDO: I went to depart, I attempted to depart 

NIKKI ADDIMANDO: I mentioned, “let me go away.” He mentioned, “you are not leaving, you are gonna lay with me.”  

Ben Ostrer: I represented a younger girl who left, 11 months later she … was killed. Leaving does not shield you. And leaving is not the reply. 

Jericka Duncan: What in regards to the analysis that reveals girls who attempt to go away, they’re extra prone to be harmed? 

Chana Krauss: I do not dispute that in any respect. I simply do not consider she was a sufferer right here. I consider that she created all of this. 

In a 47-page ruling launched in February 2020, the decide primarily sided with the prosecution, saying Nikki was “solely steps from her entrance door” the evening Chris died and will have left. He additionally mentioned her inconsistent statements about previous abuse made it not possible to know “the identification of her abuser.” He denied Nikki’s request for a lighter sentence. 

Rachel Hawkes: The explanations mainly boiled right down to she may have simply left and who — who is aware of who was abusing her. 

Nikki’s supporters insist they know precisely who was abusing her.  

Elizabeth Clifton: Chris. Chris Grover. Like, his — his identify is in these paperwork. And people paperwork have been submitted to the decide. … and his identify is there, over and again and again.  

However to this present day, Chris’s mates and former college students defend the person they knew.  

Beth Whalen: Everyone beloved Chris. … He would go above and past for everybody. … You by no means noticed him get upset, you by no means noticed him get mad.  

Mikayla Hughes: On the health club, he all the time made us really feel protected, and … I do not consider that he was ever able to … like, any sort of hurt.  

Rachel Louise Snyder: Somebody is usually a great particular person in a variety of conditions … and nonetheless be an abuser, in the identical manner that somebody is usually a great particular person and nonetheless be a sufferer.  

On February 11, Nikki’s supporters gathered as soon as once more exterior the Poughkeepsie courthouse, this time for her sentencing listening to.   

Chana Krauss: The system did not get it improper, the system received it proper. … we have to guarantee that different actual victims which can be on the market, true victims of home violence perceive that we’re there that will help you get out safely.  

To Prosecutor Chana Krauss, they’re sending a harmful message. 

Chana Krauss:  I believe … she manipulated them … I believe she was manipulating all people round her. 

Rachel Louise Snyder: Look, she — she might very nicely be manipulative. I — I do not know, proper? However was she the sufferer of sustained and intensely extreme abuse? Sure, completely. Little question in my thoughts. 

Nikki was sentenced to 19 years to life in jail. The Grover household is now centered on the children. Ben and Faye reside with Nikki’s family, and spend weekends with the Grovers. 

Gail Grover: That is what means the world proper now, these youngsters. 

On the sentencing listening to, an emotional Nikki addressed the packed courtroom.  

Elizabeth Clifton: That is how she closed her assertion. … “This is the reason girls do not go away. They so usually find yourself useless or the place I am standing, alive, however nonetheless not free.”  

addimando-14.jpg
Nikki Addimando created this drawing of herself and her son Ben whereas serving time on the Dutchess County Jail. She hopes to someday be reunited together with her kids.

Michelle Horton/Nicole Addimando


Nikki drew footage of herself together with her kids whereas in jail. To many, the end result of her trial was precisely what she feared all alongside – that nobody would consider her. 

John Ingrassia: … when you do not consider {that a} girl was victimized primarily based upon the proof that we had right here, then what occurs when you do not have seen bruises?  

Elizabeth Clifton: I might prefer to think about there is a day sometime when she’ll be free. 

Jericka Duncan: However proper now? 

Elizabeth Clifton: However proper now, that feels very distant.  

Nikki’s supporters proceed to boost cash to assist defray her authorized bills. Her legal professionals have filed an enchantment.  

Nikki Addimando will likely be eligible for parole in 2036.  

For those who or a beloved one are a sufferer of home violence, name the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233

© 2020 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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