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VA: Top Republican Donor Killed in Prison After Serving Nearly Two Decades for Sexually Assaulting His Own Children

Source: 8/8/21

A once-lauded Republican donor and former businessman was killed in prison late Tuesday by another inmate, the Associated Press and a collection of news organizations reported this week.

According to the Virginia Department of Corrections, Mark A. Grethen, 63, who was initially not identified by name, died “following an apparent attack by another inmate inside the victim’s cell.” The attack occurred at the Lawrenceville Correctional Center, a for-profit prison operated by The GEO Group, Inc., a news release indicated.

“The victim was serving a 26-year sentence for crimes including forcible sodomy and aggravated sexual battery,” the DOC continued.  “The apparent assailant is serving a 22-year sentence for crimes including robbery, malicious wounding, and assault by an inmate or probationer on an employee.  This incident is being investigated as a homicide.”

The Norfolk, Va. Virginian-Pilot indicated that Grethen, previously of Suffolk, Va., was a businessman who had been “convicted of sexually assaulting children.”

The Commonwealth’s sex offender registry lists a litany of July 16, 2001 convictions under Grethen’s name:  two counts of indecent liberties with a child by a custodian; two counts of forcible sodomy; and two counts of aggravated sexual battery.  At least two of the counts involved minors, according to the registry records.

A 2006 federal court opinion recapped some of the details of Grethen’s case.  Judge Rebecca Smith said Grethen’s grievances about his defense attorney were “frivolous” — “almost to the point of being disrespectful” given the facts:

It must be remembered that petitioner abused his own children, who were, at the time, approximately five and three years of age. The matter was discovered only when petitioner’s wife found him engaged in sexual behavior with one of the children and found the children engaged in sexual behavior on another occasion.

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Not much was reported about the man’s death, the investigation, or charges against the guy that killed him. Seems more a smear against the Republican party in Virginia than anything else.

It is only a story to the main stream news media because he was a Republican.

I’m thinking it was the DONOR angle as much as the party angle. Otherwise, why bother?

Well he almost made it out he only had hafe of a decade to go. I wonder how his wife feels about his death given the fact that her children were abused by this guy and her testimony that sent him to his death. Sounds like he was rich I hope his 2 kids inherits all his money and assets.

Good luck

Last edited 5 months ago by AERO1

Comments seem to be missing some important points in this story.

  1. Vast majority of these assaults on offenders happen in ‘for profit’ institutions.
  2. The assailant had a history of this behavior. Why put a violent inmate into a cell with a non violent one, especially an offender.
  3. I feel his political history was cited not to rip on the Republican Party, but to lay the foundation that this man felt he had privileges because of his political actions and was looking for special attention not granted others.
  4. As for his family, I hope they don’t have the same vindictive attitude shown in the comments here.

Seems it would be in the for-profit prison’s interest to keep prisoners alive, but maybe this particular guest would yield a higher return dead than alive.

Ahhh the principal versus agent conflict….good real life point.

It is far less likely that his political leanings had anything to do with his murder. It is far more likely he was a pain in the neck to the CO’s and/or other inmates, OR a new Lt. or Sgt. found out what the details of his charges were all about and didn’t appreciate his life choices. Or a combination of all of the above. A good chance that the staff decided it was time for him to go. Not sure if the ‘murderous psycho inmate’ was made the deceased’s bunkie, but this is the usual way that psycho prison guards ‘dispose’ of S.O’s that they don’t like and/or who make themselves a nuisance, etc.

I was a crim. defense investigator for a long time. I had a client who was doing life without parole so he had little to lose (California state prison). He was definitely mental/psycho. They put him in a cell with an S.O. Sure enough, the S.O. turns up quite dead within a couple of weeks. So they tacked on an extra 10 years +/- as we got him a ‘voluntary manslaughter’ plea deal. Subsequently, the now ex-client is transferred to another prison, and after a short time, is put into a cell with another inmate. Guess what that inmate’s charges were? ex-client wound up (allegedly) killing his second S.O. Not sure if he presently has more notches on his belt, but if so, that wouldn’t surprise me a bit.

During the initial part of my stay at SQ 30+ Years ago I listened, scared out of my wits, as a couple of old timers traded stories of “chesters” getting killed, one getting it with a bow and arrow. Maybe it was BS, but shortly before I got there a Sgt CO was killed with a flippen’ spear so maybe an effective homemade archery set isn’t so far-fetched.
Aaah, good times…

I saw a guy manufacture a crossbow w\ masking tape, dismantled sock thread, TV antenna pieces, 2 plastic rulers, and a piece of a boot tongue. Went clean through 2 empty pop cans, put a hole in the third. I seen him use it to pass messages by air mail. lol.

You missed my point, as often the case on this blog.

Way too:….My comments were really not in response to your posting. I fully get what you were saying, and I don’t disagree. I was just adding my own perspective based upon knowledge, training, education, and experience. It was not meant to negate or dismiss what you had to say.

Seems like a well connected guy who made things hard as he could for the rent-a-thugs at Geo. Hopefully his estate sues and smashes them, gutting their company.

And Will Allen wants me to think? Even the commonwealth doesn’t even know what the common goal is in lives juriouris prudence. Yes sex crimes are bad enough. Guess their is no segration in prison systems or does Governments think in their own exploration. Prisoners killing prisoners. Guess phone tapping is a spy who loves me episode for another go around this mulberry bush. So who trumps the chump or is silence golden. Talk about prison protection.

This ENTIRE Article is written and designed to make any reader feel that the SO deserved to be murdered. The frequent mention of the SO being Republican and a fund raiser further functions to make the life of this man more distant, more remote from the reader and from any possible sympathy.

It is entirely not out of the realm of the possible that the SO was litigious because he was factually innocent. He may further have been upset in that the deal struck by his defense attorney and the prosecution ended up being far different that what he understood and what he thought he was agreeing to. (ain’t this absolutely true for every last one of us here for our extensions of (functional if not actual) probation through endless iterations of Megan’s Law and registration requirements, etc)?

Be that as it may, this gentleman may have been guilty…but I would like to have known what sodomy was in his matter? Sodomy as from biblical Sodom, or….whatever? (Rape of course no longer means rape…this robbing of words being my main complaint). Apparently, a careful reader will note, Wife sees one sexual act with child (what sexual act exactly?) and a sexual act between the children themselves.

Still, whatever he did he did not deserve an extrajudicial death penalty. I believe the guards and the custodial institution should be charged with negligent homicide.

(this stems at least in part from my soldiering days…when you have physical custody of a person you may not harm him and in a just world, should not allow harm to come to him….these are the VERY basic rules of the road)

Best Wishes, James I

Last edited 5 months ago by James I
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