Guilty Verdict in SW Wisconsin Grave Digging Case

By Katie Wiedemann, Reporter

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By Becky Ogann

LANCASTER, WI - The jury has found Nicholas Grunke, 23, guilty in a bizarre attempted sexual abuse case where he was accused of trying to dig up a dead body to have sex with.

Grunke has been found guilty of theft, damage to property and attempted third degree sexual assault.

Grunke, his twin brother Alex and their friend Dustin Radke were caught at a Cassville Cemetery in Wisconsin in 2006. Prosecutors in the case say they were trying to dig up the body of a 20-year-old woman recently killed in a motorcycle crash.

In court Nick Grunke and Dustin Radke told the jury conflicting stories about what happened that night. Prosecutors say the evidence investigators found inside the van tells a twisted story. A tarp, duct tape, a crow bar and a box of condoms.

Dadke testified, "Nick wanted this young girl's body.(And why did he want it?) So he could have sex with it."

While on the stand, Nick Grunke admitted he planned to take the young woman's body home with him, but says sex was not on his mind. Nick Grunke said, "I was going to take it to a clearing in the woods and just kind of spend time with it....(ok, but not have sex with it?) No."

Grunke described a scene from the movie, "I'll Bury You Tomorrow" in which the main character slow danced with a corpse. He said he only planned to emulate what he saw in that movie.

But Radke tells a different story. Radke said, "Nick said numerous times over the years how he'd love to have sex with a dead body because he wouldn't want to have a woman to come home to holler at, or complain or nag at him. And he said that more than once."

Radke says when Grunke showed him the young woman's obituary he knew right away that Grunke intended to have sex with her body.

Both men said, while en route to Cassville, Alex Grunke stopped to buy a box of condoms. But during testimony each man said it was the other's idea to buy those condoms.

Alex Grunke has already been convicted of attempted theft and vandalism, but not sexual assault.

A Grunke family friend told TV9 Nick is a troubled person but never intended to have sex with the body, he only wanted to spend time with the corpse.

Susan Hutches said, "this act was a cry from the deepest part of Nick, that sought the intimacy from another human being. It had nothing to do with sex."

But the jury disagreed, siding instead with prosecutors.
Grant County Assistant Attorney Tony Pozorski told the jury, "you don't need a box of condoms to carry on a conversation. You don't need a box of condoms to go chit chat."

Along with his two year sentence, the judge ordered Grunke to register as a sex offender. Grunke will also spend the next five to seven years in intense psychotherapy. The judge said confidential records show Grunke was the victim of a horrific crime when he was a small child.

After the sentencing, Grunke hugged his mother goodbye and a deputy immediately took him into custody.

Earlier this year, as part of a plea deal, Dustin Radke pleaded guilty to Third Degree attempted sexual assault for the same crime.
Prosecutors dropped the other two charges against Radke.

This case created a stir across Wisconsin as the state discovered it does not have any law against necrophilia, that is sexually abusing a corpse. But the State Supreme Court ruled sexual assault laws apply even if the victim is dead.

In Iowa, sexual contact with a corpse is a class D felony, carrying a sentence of up to five years in prison.

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