Madera man gets life in prison for killing woman in love-triangle case

The Fresno BeeJune 13, 2014 

A deadly love-triangle case in Madera County came to a close for defendant Dustin Gran on Friday, who was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the 2008 murder of 18-year-old Krista Pike.

Gran of Madera, now 25, was convicted of first-degree murder in March. Prosecutors made the case that Brittany Navarra, now 22, convinced Gran to murder Pike because she was engaged to a boy who Navarra wanted to date.

Navarra is also being charged with murder. Her trial will begin July 15 in Stanislaus County Superior Court, said Madera County District Attorney Michael Keitz.

Madera police previously called the murder the most brutal they had seen in 20 years. Pike died of blunt-force trauma to her neck and head, police said.

"I'm glad this phase of the case is over with," Keitz said of Gran's sentencing. "We're pleased with the result and hopefully this will help bring some closure to the family."

Gran and Navarra's trials were moved out of Madera County at the urging of defense attorneys, who feared publicity surrounding the case would prevent the pair from receiving a fair trial in Madera.

Stanislaus County Judge Marie Silveira drove to Madera on Friday for the sentencing, Keitz said.

During the sentencing, Silveira said $23,048 should be paid to the defense for misconduct by the prosecution, Keitz confirmed.

Keitz said the misconduct was caused by a former deputy district attorney who is no longer with his office. That prosecutor wrongly contacted a defense expert last year before the trial began. Keitz said the sanction fee has already been paid, but the dollar amount was announced during Friday's sentencing.

Nick Pacilio, a spokesman for the Attorney General's Office in San Francisco, said the former deputy district attorney in question, Edmund Gil, is being prosecuted for misdemeanor forgery related to the Gran trial. Gil is charged with submitting a document with a false signature, which is unrelated to the misconduct alleged by Keitz.

Gil entered a no-contest plea on Jan. 30 -- which has the same legal effect as a guilty plea -- and will be sentenced on June 26 in Fresno, Pacilio said.

The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6386, or @CarmenGeorge on Twitter.

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