Public Safety

Williamsburg man pleads guilty to stabbing man involved with ex, faces 45 year in prison

Sentencing set Nov. 26 in Iowa County

Bryan Grout
Bryan Grout

MARENGO — A rural Williamsburg man will be sentenced next month for repeatedly stabbing another man who had a romantic relationship with his ex-girlfriend.

Bryan Grout, 42, originally charged with attempted murder, pleaded guilty last month in Iowa County District Court to amended charges of two counts of willful injury causing serious injury and first-degree burglary.

Sixth Judicial District Judge Sean McPartland told Grout he faces up to 45 years in prison, according to the plea agreement. Sentencing is set for Nov. 26.

Iowa County Attorney Tim McMeen, as part of the plea agreement, will dismiss the attempted murder charge at sentencing. Two counts of operating while intoxicated were dismissed in June.

During the plea, Grout admitted to attacking Heath G. Hershey, 40, on Dec. 9, 2017, in a residence at 132 Country Club Road in Williamsburg, where Grout’s ex-girlfriend lived. Grout also admitted to stabbing Hershey multiple times in the neck, back and chest.

Court documents show the woman, now Hershey’s girlfriend, called 911 and reported the stabbing. When Iowa County Sheriff’s deputies arrived, Hershey was in the bathroom “covered in blood.” Hershey told the deputies Grout stabbed him while he was sleeping. A deputy noted in a report there was a “trail of blood” from the bedroom to the bathroom, according to court documents.

Hershey had wounds to his neck, under his left eye, left side of chest and a “large slash” to his back on the left side, according to court documents.

Hershey was taken to a hospital and underwent surgery for his injuries, according to court documents.

Grout left the scene but deputies stopped his vehicle near his home about 15 minutes after the assault. Court documents show he smelled of alcohol, had slurred speech and was unsteady, but he refused to take breath and field sobriety tests.

Deputies said Grout had an injury under his left eye and on his left ear, according to a search warrant affidavit. During the stop, Grout told deputies what they were looking for was in his truck. One of the deputies said he could see a folding knife with the blade open laying in the console area. The blade appeared to have blood on it and so did the steering wheel and dashboard area, according to the affidavit.

Body camera footage shows Grout, while laughing, admitting to stabbing Hershey, according to another affidavit. Grout told deputies that Hershey shouldn’t have been having sex with “my old lady, dude. I am going to prison for a long time. He is going to die, isn’t he?”

Grout’s 17-year-old son later told deputies that he saw his father leave the house that night, telling his son, “I’m going to prison tonight.”

Court documents show Grout’s ex-girlfriend had a no-contact order against him at the time of the break-in and assault.

Grout may also be ordered to pay victim restitution. He agreed to waive his right to appeal and right to request any reconsideration of the sentences, according to the plea agreement.

In 2006, Grout was previously convicted of burning down the mobile home where 10-year-old Jetseta Gage’s body was found March 25, 2005, according to court records. Roger Bentley kidnapped, sexually assaulted and killed Jetseta in the mobile home, 4703 Orval Yoder Turnpike, southwest of Iowa City, where he lived at that time.

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Grout set the fire Feb. 25, 2006, a day after Bentley was sentenced to two life prison terms. Grout, convicted of third-degree arson, was sentenced to 30 days in jail.

l Comments: (319) 398-8318; trish.mehaffey@thegazette.com

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