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December 19, 2013

5:30 P.M. UPDATE: Jeffersonville police: Suicide pact led to deaths of couple

Courtney Grimm, Morgan Julius found dead Nov. 9

JEFFERSONVILLE — The father of a Jeffersonville man who recently committed suicide said he hopes the loss endured by his family will provide guidance for other troubled youth in the community.  

“We hope some other young people can learn from this tragedy and see what it does to a family,” said Dennis Julius, after Jeffersonville police revealed Thursday that his son Morgan Julius, 26, and his son’s girlfriend Courtney Grimm, 27, died from self-inflicted gunshot wounds at their home Nov. 9.

Police have described the incident as a suicide pact.

“It is tough, he [Morgan Julius] was my middle child, and I, personally, feel like I lost my best friend. I just do,” said Julius, who is a city councilman and candidate in the 2014 Jeffersonville mayoral election.

He said his family has received some comfort by police making its recent determination in a case once brimming with unanswered questions.

“It does put some closure to it. Our family and Courtney’s family, we have kind of suffered a shocking and terrible loss,” Julius said. “Will we ever understand all the problems and things they were dealing with? Absolutely not.”

He said the support that both families have received since the deaths has made their grieving and pain a little easier to endure.  

“We have gotten a lot of prayers and support from the community and friends,” Julius said. “[The support] has been overwhelming.”

The bodies of Morgan Julius and Grimm were discovered in the bathroom of their Starview Court home Nov. 9 following a fire there that day, but the Clark County Coroner’s office determined the cause of death to be gunshot wounds.

JPD Detective Todd Hollis said Thursday that information retrieved from Morgan Julius’ cell phone revealed that he and Grimm had agreed to end their lives together.

“The communication is very clear about their intentions,” Hollis said of text messages sent between Julius and Grimm found on the cell phone, which was collected from the bathroom where their remains were found. Hollis said text messages regarding consensual suicides were sent from both Julius to Grimm and from Grimm to Julius, but Grimm’s phone was not recovered by authorities.

“It was clear they were both suicidal, that they both intended to end their own life and start the fire,” Hollis said.

He said gasoline had been spread in the bathroom and several other rooms of the home to accelerate the blaze.

Hollis said it likely never will be determined if the fire was set before Julius and Grimm took their lives, or if one had committed the fatal act and the fire was set before the other took his or her life. Hollis said the couple was open with one another about their intentions and the method to carry out the suicides, but they had not shared those intentions with others.

Two firearms were found in the bathroom by police, but it has not been determined, at this time, if both firearms had been fired during the incident. Hollis said police believe both guns belonged to Morgan Julius, and he and Grimm had planned to use his firearms to take their lives.

Police are waiting to receive results of ballistics testing from the Jefferson County Medical Examiner’s Office in Kentucky.

Hollis said the value of the ballistics results and other lab reports are, at this point, for the sake of a complete and thorough investigation.

“We have no reason to believe that information will change anything about what we already know,” he said.

Hollis also said police have found no evidence that supports any other persons were involved in the deaths of Grimm and Julius. He said a double suicide is such a rare occurrence that no one at JPD has dealt with such an incident.

“This isn’t anything that we have encountered here,” Hollis said, adding, “One of the reasons we investigated so thoroughly is because it’s a very uncommon thing, and that’s why we are very confident of what happened here.”

While police believe Julius and Grimm both agreed to kill themselves, their motivation remains a mystery.

“What exactly motivated them to do this, I just don’t know,” Hollis said. “ It’s not clear why, and I don’t want to speculate about motivating factors.”

A call was placed to Grimm’s brother-in-law — who previously spoke to the media about her death — but it was not returned by press time.

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