Gregory Graf, the 53-year-old Pennsylvania man who was arrested for the murder of his stepdaughter and the subsequent sexual abuse of her corpse, will stand trial.
According to Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli, the defense waived the preliminary hearing Friday after viewing a videotape that authorities allege was made by Graf. The video, as previously reported by the Inquisitr, shows Graf sexually abusing the body of his murdered stepdaughter, 33-year-old Jessica Padgett. Morganelli says that necrophilia was the motive behind Graf’s murder of his own stepdaughter.
“We’re very confident in the strength of our case. We do have overwhelming evidence,” Morganelli said. “As I indicated in court today, the defendant did confess to this crime, he led investigators to where the body was located and he filmed the sexual acts he was performing on Ms. Padgett. And we’re in possession of all that evidence.”
Morganelli refers to the case as being “airtight.”
Graf’s defense attorney, Jack McMahon, says he is considering a mental health defense for Graf and will seek a mental health evaluation, although there is no history of prior mental problems.
“In this case, it’s obviously a tragedy and the defendant is a person who has no history in anything remotely resembling anything like this,” said McMahon. “Obviously it seems to be an aberrational type situation. We’re looking into, obviously, a mental health component.”
McMahon said the crime was “out of character” for Graf, that there had been no pattern that would lead someone to believe that Graf was capable of murder and necrophilia.
“When you see a guy who has no history like this and he’s a good enough guy normally and then something like this happens – there’s some sort of breakdown there that has to be examined,” McMahon said.
The victim, Jessica Padgett, was a recently married mother of three and was last seen alive on November 21 as she was leaving the day care center where she worked.
Her family said of her, and of her death, “Jessica was a beautiful, vibrant young woman who was beloved by her family and friends. The world shines less bright today.”
Graf was arrested just five days after Padgett’s disappearance, after he led police to her body, which was buried behind a shed on the property where he was living with Padgett’s own mother, who was in Florida at the time. Graf shot his stepdaughter in the back of the head, filmed himself having sexual relations with her, and then buried her body.
Padgett’s mother has filed for divorce.
Necrophilia is an act so strange and vile that, on the rare occasions in which it does occur, it makes headlines. Click here to read about a Russian man’s strange obsession with corpses that led him to snatch the bodies of nearly 30 little girls and keep them in his apartment for his own twisted fantasies.