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Lexington woman pleads to killing her husband

Lexington, SC 07/17/2021 (Paul Kirby) – A Lexington woman was sentenced this week to 30 years in prison for shooting and killing her husband in 2016. According to Solicitor Rick Hubbard’s office, Kimberly Fletcher Groh, 55, was sentenced after entering a plea to the murder of her husband, Michael Bryan.

Circuit Court Judge Walton J. McLeod IV imposed the sentence following Groh’s plea earlier Friday in Lexington County. Under South Carolina law, she will never be eligible for parole.

Eleventh Circuit Solicitor Rick Hubbard stated after the court proceedings, “this was a premeditated and callous crime. We hope this sentence affords some measure of closure for the family.”

According to investigators that worked the case, at approximately 1:42 a.m. on November 30, 2016, the Lexington County 911 Center received a call from Groh claiming that her husband had “shot himself” with a .223 Winchester rifle. Groh later claimed the gun accidentally discharged while she was attempting to remove it from the bed while her husband was sleeping. Ultimately, crime lab analysis determined that her DNA was on the trigger of the rifle, but her deceased husband’s DNA was not present there at all.

Groh and Bryan had been married since 2008. Bryan owned a local plumbing company and both he and his wife worked in that business.

The investigation was led by the Lexington Police Department (LPD) and additional analysis was conducted by the S.C. Law Enforcement Division (SLED).

During the course of the investigation, LPD officers executed a search warrant at the residence where the shooting occurred. During that search hey located two plastic baggies inside of Groh’s purse. One plastic bag contained a powdery substance that when tested by the lab at SLED was identified as Tamazepam. This is a prescription medication used in the treatment of insomnia. The second plastic bag contained multiple opened and unopened Temazapam capsules. SLED lab technicians determined that Tamazepam residue was in food containers from a meal that Groh prepared and served to her husband for dinner that night of the shooting. Tamazepam was also found in the Bryan's blood during a toxicology analysis.

A forensic analysis was then conducted on Groh’s electronic devices, including her iPhone and Lenova laptop. That analysis revealed searches dating back to 2015 for topics such as “ways to poison your spouse without detection.” This evidence was utilized by prosecutors to establish evidence of the suspect’s state of mind prior to the shooting. Additionally, the following internet searches were discovered on Groh’s electronic devices:

· “Ways to poison spouse without detection” on 5/22/16

· “Top Ten Most Deadly Poisons Known to Mankind” on 11/1/16

· “Buy Zyklon B” on 11/1/16

· “Buy Arsenic” on 11/1/16

· “How much arsenic will kill a human” on 11/6/16

· “How much arsenic is deadly” on 11/11/16

· “What is a Deadly Dose of Arsenic” on 11/13/16

· “How to use a .223 rifle” on 11/15/16

· “load a .223 rifle” on 11/15/16

· “How to shoot a Winchester .223” on 11/25/16

The investigation later led detectives to determine that Groh had purchased arsenic from Lab Depot on two occasions, once on November 1, 2016, and again on November 7, 2016. In addition, investigators learned that Groh was the sole beneficiary of the victim’s will and his $500,000 life insurance policy. It was discovered that Groh filed a claim with Jackson Life Insurance Company the day after the homicide which was December 1st, 2016. As the investigation continued, detectives learned that Groh was in financial distress and the business she and her husband ran was struggling.

Additional crime scene analysis by Steve Derrick, a renowned CSI expert, determined that the shooting could not have occurred in the way described by Groh. In Derrick’s expert opinion, Groh fired the rifle from the foot of the bed. A forensic autopsy revealed that her husband sustained a single gunshot wound to the heart.

The case was prosecuted by 11th Circuit Assistant Solicitor Robby McNair and Assistant Solicitor Bradley Pogue. Assistant Solicitor McNair stated, “this case has taken an emotional toll on everyone involved, especially the family of Michael Bryan. We appreciate their trust in our office and the judicial system. It has been a long road and we are immensely satisfied to see justice served today.”

During the sentencing hearing, a courtroom filled with family and friends of Michael Bryan reflected on the impact of his life and legacy. His son, John Bryan, stated “not a day goes by that I don’t think about working with my hero.” Bryan noted that he and other family members are seeking “peace … peace that I will find from justice in this courtroom.”

Prior to delivering the sentence, Judge McLeod acknowledged, “tragic does not do it justice – the damage here cannot be quantified by words.” Groh was led from the courtroom in handcuffs following the sentence and will begin immediate service of her sentence.


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