Wednesday, April 23, 2003 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

E-mail article     Print

Grote sentenced for role in Heimann slaying

Times Snohomish County bureau

EVERETT — A Marysville man who was offered a car by Barbara Opel to help murder her boss two years ago has been sentenced to 50 years in prison

Jeffrey Grote was 17 when he and four other teens attacked Jerry Heimann with knives and baseball bats. The 64-year-old Boeing retiree died on the kitchen floor of his Everett home on April 13, 2001.

Grote, now 19, was sentenced this afternoon in Snohomish County Superior Court, less than a week after a jury recommended Opel spend the rest of her life in prison for bribing the teens to kill Heimann. Grote pleaded guilty to first-degree murder last year and his sentencing was delayed until he testified during Opel’s criminal trial.

Grote testified that Opel repeatedly talked about hiring people to kill Heimann so she could gain access to the nearly $40,000 he had in his bank account. Opel and her three children had been living with Heimann from December 2000 until shortly after Heimann’s murder. Opel had been a live-in caretaker for Heimann’s elderly mother.

Grote said he initially refused when Opel asked him to participate in the killing. But Grote changed his mind when Opel promised to buy him a car and give his friends cash.

On the night of the murder, Grote, his girlfriend Heather Opel, Marriam Oliver, Kyle Boston and Boston’s then-13-year-old cousin hid in Heimann’s house waiting for him. When Heimann walked into the house, Grote snuck up behind him and clubbed him with Heather’s softball bat.

When Heimann fell to his knees, Boston and his cousin then beat the man with miniature baseball bats. The two boys became frightened and fled, and Heather Opel, and Oliver picked up weapons and joined in the attack.

All of the teens have been convicted of murder.

Heather Opel, Barbara Opel’s daughter, now 15, and Oliver, now 16, are both serving 22-year prison sentences.

Boston, now 16, is serving an 18-year sentence. His cousin, now 15, who The Times is not naming because he was prosecuted as a juvenile, will be released from prison when turns 21.

Opel, 39, was convicted of aggravated first-degree murder on April 8. The same jury ruled Friday that she should spend life in prison without parole, opting against the death penalty. Opel will be formally sentenced tomorrow.

Jennifer Sullivan: 425-783-0604 or


Get home delivery today!