A YOUNG MOTHER ADMITS TO SHOOTING HER PARTNER, A POPULAR GYMNASTICS COACH, BUT SAYS IT WAS SELF-DEFENSE – THE DEATH DIVIDES A COMMUNITY
“48 Hours” Investigates in “The Case Against Nicole Addimando”
Saturday, Nov. 21
(L-R) Chris Grover and Nicole Addimando.
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To some, Nicole (“Nikki”) Addimando is a young mother who shot her abusive partner in self-defense when she feared he would take her life. To others, she is a murderer who took the life of Chris Grover, a father and popular gymnastics coach in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. Now, 48 HOURS and correspondent Jericka Duncan investigate their relationship and the night Grover died in “The Case Against Nicole Addimando,” to be broadcast Saturday, Nov. 21 (10:00-11:00 PM ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
The death of Grover and the legal proceedings against Addimando have divided the community, and hinge on the question of whether Addimando murdered Grover or whether she was, as she argues, acting in self-defense against an abusive partner.
“Nikki is the most gentle, loving friend we’ve ever had,” friend Rachel Hawkes tells Duncan.
“My son never hurt anybody,” says Gail Grover, Chris Grover’s mother. “He lived for Nikki. He lived for those kids.”
Here’s what’s certain: on Sept. 28, 2017, a police officer spotted a car stopped at a green light. When he sounded his air horn to get the car to move, an agitated Addimando got out and told him something had gone terribly wrong at home. She told police that her partner Chris Grover had abused her for years. She said things reached a boiling point when Grover came home from work that day, after Child Protective Services visited to investigate an anonymous report earlier that morning. At one point that night, she said, they lay down on the couch together and Grover pulled a gun from the cushions. When Addimando asked to leave, by her account, he said he would kill her. Addimando said she got the gun away from Grover and shot him in self-defense.
Was Addimando telling the truth? Family, friends and advocates for victims of domestic violence rallied to her defense, but the community was split. On the other side, Grover’s family, coworkers and many of his gymnastics students believe he wasn’t abusive.
“I don’t believe Chris ever abused her,” says Putnam County Assistant District Attorney Chana Krauss. Krauss, who has spent much of her career advocating for victims of sexual violence, prosecuted the case and says the way Grover was shot didn’t match Addimando’s description of what happened. “She intentionally planned and murdered him when he was sleeping.”
Elizabeth Clifton, Addimando’s friend and advocate, told us she believes Addimando and that she witnessed injuries and evidence of violent abuse. “She was afraid for her life,” Clifton says. “I mean I was constantly afraid for her life. I messaged her every morning to see if she was still alive.”
So what happened? 48 HOURS and Duncan report the story through interviews with Addimando’s friends, attorneys, the prosecution, Grover’s family and more.
48 HOURS: “The Case Against Nicole Addimando” is produced by Mary Ann Rotondi. Emma Steele is the field producer. Michelle Sigona and Marc Goldbaum are the development producers. Mead Stone is the producer editor. Jud Johnston and George Baluzy are the editors. Peter Schweitzer and Gail Zimmerman are the senior producers. Nancy Kramer is the executive story editor. Judy Tygard is the executive producer.
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