LAPEER — Carl Grondin, Sr. is adamant his grandson, Kenneth C. Grondin III, did not murder his girlfriend, Andrea Eilber, in 2011. Grondin, Sr. and K.C. Grondin’s parents, Kenneth II and April, are so certain of his innocence that they’re prepared to “spend their last dime” to get him released and are busily preparing for a retrial should they be granted a new trial by the Michigan Court of Appeals three judge appellate panel.
Grondin Sr., 73, knows it will be an uphill battle to prevent K.C. from spending the rest of his life in prison after a jury on Oct. 23 found him guilty of first-degree murder in the shooting death of Eilber. At age 20, Eilber was found dead from a single gunshot wound to the top of her head in the basement of her aunt’s home in Mayfield Township.
K.C., now 23, being held without bond at the Lapeer County Jail, awaits a Jan. 25 sentencing date before Chief Circuit Court Judge Nick Holowka. Grondin, Sr. has hired four private detectives to gather new evidence. The private eyes are former Michigan State Police troopers and former crime scene investigators.
To aid their investigation, Grondin, Sr. and his team are offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person they believe to be the real murderer.
Specifically, the Grondin investigation team is seeking information about a person who entered the Speedway gas station at 1258 E. Bristol Rd. in Burton on Nov. 15, 2011 and used the ATM machine with Andrea Eilber’s ATM card. The vehicle believed to have been operated by that person was then seen driving east on Bristol Rd.
The Grondin family has also hired the Detroit father and son attorney team of Dennis and John Clark who specialize in appellate law. They are working with Grondin’s original defense lawyer Michael Manley.
Grondin’s legal team is awaiting court transcripts from the original trial that must be presented to the court as part of the appeal process. A computer problem in the court office where transcripts are prepared has delayed the transcripts. That delay may be enough to persuade Judge Holowka to delay sentencing until the transcripts can be prepared and the appeals court given adequate time to review them.
Grondin, Sr. says he hopes the court is also swayed by the findings of his private investigation team. “It has been discouraging to realize how many people were not interviewed and leads not followed up in the original police investigation,” he said.
He also said that Michigan State Police Lt. Patrick Young, who was a detective at the Lapeer post when the original investigation began, has pledged to do anything he can to help the family. “Pat believes KC is innocent,” said Grondin, Sr.
The Grondin family recently paid to have to have their request for information placed on three billboards in eastern Genesee County, the area where they believe Eilber’s true murderer used her ATM card back in November of 2011.
“We think there was more than one person involved,” said Grondin, Sr. “We think somebody saw something and we think somebody will say something. We’re still working to solve the case. That’s the best way to prove KC’s innocence and get him out.”