Man confesses to murder, arson after wife dies in Norfolk house fire, court documents say

Posted at 6:32 PM, Aug 07, 2018
and last updated 2020-01-21 13:52:41-05

NORFOLK, Va. - 58-year-old Delano Grangruth confessed to second-degree murder and arson, according to court documents. 

Grangruth pleaded guilty in Norfolk Circuit Court for three felony charges Tuesday.

Grangruth pleaded guilty to one count of first degree murder, one count of arson of an occupied home, and one count of arson of personal property.

The judge ordered Grangruth's hearing for March 20.

News 3 obtained recently unsealed court documents that stated in an interview with police, Grangruth reportedly admitted to "putting gasoline on his wife and lighting her on fire and then fleeing the residence on his bicycle."

Norfolk Police requested search warrants to look at the man's DNA, bicycle, clothing and home. They were looking for evidence that he used an accelerant in the fire, which he reportedly did because in court documents he admitted to putting gasoline on her.

Police were also called to the home in 2013 because he was allegedly threatening her and said he would "burn the house down if she called police."

They say fire crews found the woman, identified as 61-year-old Kathleen White-Grangruth, deceased and sitting in a chair.

Neighbors told News 3 at the time White-Grangruth was confined to a wheelchair and needed home assistance every day. The neighbor says the woman's nurse was the one who called the fire department after she knocked on the door but didn't get an answer. She called when she saw smoke coming from under the front door.

Other neighbors told us they weren't surprised either.


Husband charged with murder, arson after wife dies in Norfolk house fire