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Tulare Woman Who Killed and Buried Husband in Kettleman Hills Is Up for Parole
anthony-haddad-1
By Anthony W. Haddad
Published 2 weeks ago on
July 10, 2024

June Gravlee, convicted in 1990 for her role in her husband's 1987 murder and now eligible for parole, was granted release despite objections from prosecutors, citing her age and prison participation as factors. (Screenshot/Newspaper.com)

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A Tulare woman once recommended for the death sentence is now found suitable for parole, according to the Tulare County District Attorney’s office.

In a virtual hearing on July 3, California parole commissioners, over objections from prosecutors, granted parole to June Gravlee, 70, who has served more than three decades in prison for the 1987 murder of her husband.

Gravlee, currently held at the California Institution for Women in Corona, had originally faced a death sentence recommended by a Tulare County jury in 1990. The sentence was later reduced to life imprisonment without parole. In 2018, her sentence was further reduced, making her eligible for parole.

The Murder of Andrew Gravlee

Gravlee and her husband, Andrew Gravlee, married in October 1986 despite their 35-year age difference.

On July 17, 1987, Gravlee and her brother, Gary Smith, fatally stabbed and beat Andrew at the Gravlees’ Tulare home before burying him in a ravine near Kettleman City.

Gravlee continued to collect her husband’s pension and Social Security payments and fabricated stories about his absence.

Suspicions arose in late 1987 and an official investigation began in 1988, leading to Gravlee eventually admitting her brother was responsible. Andrew’s body, bearing stab wounds and severe head trauma, was discovered in June 1989. Smith later pleaded guilty to murder and served 24 years before being paroled in 2013.

June Gravlee Says She Murdered Her Husband

At her third parole hearing in March 2023, Gravlee acknowledged her role in the murder, a reversal from previous denials, though she recanted this admission at the recent hearing, drawing criticism from Tulare County prosecutors.

Despite objections citing her history of manipulative behavior, parole commissioners emphasized Gravlee’s age and participation in prison programs as factors supporting her release.

District Attorney Tim Ward labeled Gravlee a “master manipulator” and criticized the commissioners’ ruling as rewarding deception. Former District Attorney Phil Cline, who prosecuted Gravlee in 1990, reiterated her involvement in the crime, highlighting expert testimony and forensic evidence from the trial.

Gravlee’s parole will be reviewed by the Governor’s office, with opportunities for public input.

Newspaper Article on the Original Case

June Gravlee story Jan. 13, 1988

Article from Jan 13, 1988 Tulare Advance-Register (Tulare, California)

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Anthony W. Haddad,
Multimedia Journalist
Anthony W. Haddad, who graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with his undergraduate degree and has an MBA at Fresno State, is the Swiss Army knife of GV Wire. He writes stories, manages social media, and represents the organization on the ground.

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