Shawn Ryan Grell

Shawn Ryan Grell
Crime: Murder

Since I began this blog in September 2011, I have written about 500 articles. I have despised and detested every one of the 500+ hellbeasts posted here, but I must admit there are some that truly give me nightmares, such as Yves Bureau, Darick Stallworth and Li Hao. I’ve just encountered another that I suspect will haunt me in my dreams.

Shawn Ryan Grell of Maricopa County, Arizona is an abomination. He may have a human exterior, but inside he is a heartless, soulless beast. His true colours showed early in his life. He killed his pet cat, set fire to his pet dog, and burned down the family home. That’s when he was just getting started on his criminal career as a pre-teen.

When Shawn Grell was 13, back in 1988, he fondled a young girl and was arrested. Unhappily, a stint in a juvenile facility didn’t straighten him out. He assaulted his fellow inmates as well as staff members. Figuring there was something very wrong with him, authorities had the young villain tested. He was diagnosed as borderline mentally handicapped — his IQ registered between 70 and 80.

I tend to question the diagnosis. It’s totally conceivable to me that a delinquent f*cktard like Shawn Grell wouldn’t try very hard to do well on any test, and might have deliberately given wrong answers as a middle finger salute to the authorities.

For the next few years Shawn Grell bounced between home and the juvenile facility. He didn’t do well in either situation. He kept committing crimes like assault and shoplifting, and he kept getting busted. It comes as no surprise that when he turned 18 he didn’t stop committing offenses.

In 1992 Shawn Grell was sent to adult prison for assault. In 1995 he was returned to prison for robbing a convenience store. After a short period of incarceration the incorrigible bastard was granted parole. That’s when he met Amber Salem, a young woman with a big heart, a forgiving nature, and lots of love to give.

Amber Salem saw something good in Shawn Grell (probably she didn’t know about the pets he killed and the family home he burned down). She certainly saw no signs of a mental handicap.

Kristen SalemAmber Salem became the hellbeast’s steady girlfriend. She also became the mother of his child. On July 7, 1997, Kristen Courtney Salem was born. Such a darling baby she was, with blonde hair, heart-melting eyes and an angelic nature.

Shawn Grell was a lucky man, if he but knew it. He had a loving woman and a beautiful baby. He proposed to Amber Salem in 1998 and she accepted.

The little family moved into Amber’s parents home to start their life together. At that point in time, Shawn Grell had a decent future within his grasp, but being a f*cktard he just had to f*ck it up.

In 1998, the halfwit was caught in possession of drug paraphernalia. He was on parole at the time for that robbery he committed, and his parole officer rightly tossed his pasty ass back into prison.

In 1999, Shawn Grell was released to pick up the pieces of his life. It doesn’t surprise me at all that, with his history of felony convictions, he was having trouble landing a job. The only way he managed to find work was to lie, but as soon as a background check was done he’d be fired.

Amber Salem may have loved her man despite their troubles, but her parents were becoming fed up with Shawn Grell’s employment issues. They wanted better for their daughter and granddaughter than the likes of him. I’m sure if they knew anything at all about his violent past they would have been desperate to get him out of their lives.

On November 29, 1999, Shawn Grell walked away from his last job without a word and never returned. He just hung around the house, doing nothing for the next few days.

On December 2, 1999, Amber Salem’s parents found out that Shawn Grell was unemployed again. They were understandably upset, and they told their daughter that they were ready to throw the loser bum out of the house.

Poor Amber Salem must have been beside herself at that point — wanting to appease her parents and, at the same time, wanting to bring her fiancé back into her parents’ good graces. She arranged to meet Shawn Grell during her lunch break.

I suspect that hearing he was going to be kicked to the curb didn’t go over well with the hellbeast. Probably he was seething with rage. When Amber Salem returned to work, Shawn Grell bought himself some 32-ounce bottles of beer and began to drink in her car. He continued to drink at a bar in Phoenix.

I don’t know why Shawn Grell decided to collect little Kristen from daycare. I don’t know if he had revenge in his black heart, or hate. The hellbeast later claimed he initially intended to take his daughter to his sister’s house but changed his mind.

Shawn Grell took 2-year-old Kristen from the safety of the daycare in Phoenix, and signed her out using Amber Salem’s name. He drove with his daughter to Mesa, telling her they were going to look at Christmas lights. His girlfriend had no idea what was going on.

At 5:40 Shawn Grell purchased beer at a convenience store in Mesa. Great. Like the hellbeast needed more alcohol.

Shawn Grell took little Kristen to McDonald’s for a hamburger, and they ate in a parking lot. They drove around for a while longer and the little girl starting whining. She wanted her mommy.

Shawn Grell couldn’t stand the whining, and he dealt with it like a hellbeastly asshole would.

”I just got tired of it and slapped her in the mouth. After she stopped crying a few minutes later, she said, ‘Sorry, Daddy,’ and then she started being good, and then she just went nuts again because she wanted to see her mom again.”

The evil subhuman Shawn Grell decided then how he’d deal with his daughter. Hint: remember the family dog.

I told you before that this story was the stuff of nightmares. Well, the nightmarish stuff is coming up now.

Shawn Grell, being pissed at the world in general and his daughter in particular, drove to a Target store and bought a 3-gallon gasoline jug for $4.00. He filled the jug at a gas station, and then he drove around the desert near Apache Junction for about 45 minutes. Little Kristen had fallen asleep by the time he stopped.

I’ll let the monster’s words tell it from here.

Kristen Salem“Kristen was already asleep, so I got out of the car, then I picked her up out of the car. I said, ‘Kristen, Mommy’s here. Let’s lay down,’ so I laid her in the dirt next to the car. “I took the gasoline and poured it on her.”

At that point little Kristen stood up. She began to scream, “No, Daddy, no!” My god, she must have known what was coming.

Did seeing his beautiful little girl soaked in gasoline, screaming in terror change the demented monster’s mind? Hell no.

“I took the match and threw it on her,” Shawn Grell said.

Kristen Salem, that beautiful, loving child, ran about 12 feet, then walked in circles, screaming in agony as the flames engulfed her. The heat was so intense her plastic hair clip melted down the side of her head. After 60 seconds the toddler collapsed face down in the dirt, her whole body on fire.

When Shawn Grell saw Kristen fall to her knees, he got back in his car and drove around for a bit before returning to the scene of the crime.

Kristen Salem was by then dead. Only the bottoms of her little feet weren’t burned.

Seeing that the evil deed was done, Shawn Grell returned to the Mesa convenience store where he’d bought beer earlier that day. He needed more beer. He told the cashier that he’d just seen kids set a dog on fire in the desert. “I can’t believe that kids would set a dog on fire,” he said. “This is what the world is coming to when kids set dogs on fire.”

For the next few hours Shawn Grell drove around the area, drinking beer. He was pulled over by a policeman around midnight, and was instructed to walk home. Of course he didn’t obey — he got back into his car when the officer left and kept on driving.

At around 2:00 a.m. another officer pulled him over. Shawn Grell was taken to a police station where the breathalyzer showed his blood alcohol level was .16.

During a half-hour interview with the police, Shawn Grell laughed and joked with them. He’d burned his daughter to death and it was like it meant nothing to him. The officers had no clue this was a monstrous murderer they were dealing with, so after they processed him he was released.

At that time I just can’t imagine how absolutely frantic Amber Salem and her parents were. Kristen was gone, Shawn was gone, and they had no way of finding them. It must have been pure hell.

Shawn GrellShawn Grell made his way to the state capitol and called the Capitol Police Department to confess. Police investigators went to the location the evil bastard had indicated and found what was left of Kristen Salem. They arrested the baby killer on suspicion of murder.

Several months after Kristen’s death and his arrest, Shawn Grell held a news conference. He confessed to all that he had done to that poor child.

Three weeks later, the murdering bastard sent a confession to the prosecutor. That was very obliging of him. In the handwritten letter Shawn Grell stated, “I took my daughter’s life away from her on December 2, 1999; in a very sickening way!” He repeatedly stated he was guilty.

BTW, Shawn Grell seems remarkably literate for a mentally handicapped person, don’t you think? He uses semicolons too. Hmmmm.

Shawn Ryan Grell was found guilty of 1st-degree murder by Judge Barbara Jarrett in September 2000. He was sentenced to death in July 2001. It was the only death sentence Judge Jarrett had ever meted out in her entire career. The aggravating factors included: a prior conviction for a serious offense; the age of the victim; and an especially cruel, heinous and depraved murder.

Judge Jarrett had ruled that Shawn Grell’s attorneys had not proven their client was functionally mentally retarded.

Considering the evil hellbeast could drive, read, write, work, and function in society, I agree fully with Judge Jarrett.

Unfortunately, the legal saga doesn’t end there. In 2006 the Arizona Supreme Court ordered a resentencing because of 2 rulings by the US Supreme Court: 1) it is unconstitutional to execute the mentally retarded; and 2) only jurors, not judges, can find that aggravating factors exist to qualify defendants for the death penalty.

In 2009 a jury ordered that Shawn Grell die by lethal injection. And STILL the legal saga doesn’t end there. The Arizona Supreme Court once again commuted the sentence.

American federal law prohibits executing “mentally retarded” persons under the U.S. Constitution’s “cruel and unusual punishment” clause written in the 8th amendment. The Arizona Supreme Court ruled that Shawn Grell’s reportedly low IQ made him ineligible to be executed. In January 2013 the heartless hellbeast was sentenced to life in prison.

“Very shocking… very shocking. Very unexpected,” a heartbroken Amber Salem said of the new sentence. “Everything he had done was premeditated. He had planned everything out. I don’t understand how they can rule him as mentally retarded. I have no words for it.”

“What about the punishment my daughter had to endure the night he set my daughter on fire? Are they thinking of her or are they just thinking of him? Because in my eyes…” Amber Salem tearfully continued, “[Kristen] deserves to be here more than [Shawn Grell] does. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t miss [Kristen].”

Amber Salem, as devastated as she was by the horrific fate of her beloved daughter, carried on with life. She had 3 more children and a loving, understanding and dedicated boyfriend.

“I have a great support system,” Amber Salem said. “If it wasn’t for family I wouldn’t have anybody.”

Tragically, on May 12, 2013 — Mother’s Day — Amber Lee Salem passed away in her sleep. She was only 31. Her 3 children were 8, 6 and 19 months old.

RIP, Kristen Salem and Amber Lee Salem. I extend my heartfelt sympathies to the family and friends who knew and loved them. I hope the surviving children are living safe, happy lives full of joy and love.

Meanwhile Shawn Grell, aka Inmate 092899, is tucked away in prison for the rest of his worthless life. The only good thing that came from him was the daughter he murdered.

“I’m extremely sorry for what I did to my daughter,” Shawn Grell had said at his final resentencing. “There is not a day that’s gone by where I haven’t thought about it.” I hope that’s true. I hope she haunts him.

Remorse now is as useless as this baby killer’s life is. Maybe when Shawn Grell dies he’ll be turned into nutrients in the soil. Until then he’s a waste of space, of oxygen, of time. The world would be so much better off with Amber and Kristen Salem alive, and Shawn Grell not alive.

Long may he suffer.

Murderpedia article
Angelizdsplace.com article
Pro Death Penalty Resource Community article – resentencing
AZFamily.com article – life sentence
AZFamily.com article – mother reacts
AZCentral.com news article – reduced sentence

28 Responses to Shawn Ryan Grell

  1. moodymagic says:

    What a sick Monster and he gets to live. I TRULY hope that sweet angel haunts this depraved sick bastard all the rest of his worthless days. Cleo the horror this poor baby suffered. I can’t even imagine. My sympathies are with Amber’s family as well. I truly hope Amber and Kristen are at peace and together.

  2. Awesomeblossom says:

    That poor poor baby and her mother. Hope the bastard lives in pain every minute of every day for the rest of his life.

  3. bulldoggy says:

    I think we can all agree he’s a demon from hell. He deserves to burn for eternity.

  4. Jennifer C. says:

    This must be a new trend. I just read online that on January 16, 2015, a 22 yr old woman in New Jersey took her infant daughter, put her in the middle of a road, poured some type of accelerant on the infant and then lit it on fire! By the time the cops and fire department got there and put out the fire and got the baby to a hospital, it was too late. This woman, as well as this waste of space that did the same to his daughter should have the SAME THING done to them as their punishment/sentence. Children are always the ones that get the parent’s frustrations taken out on them. But, at least these 2 beautiful children won’t have to suffer a horrible life (which would no doubt include abuse and neglect) with their parents. May these parents burn in hell…then THEY will know what it’s like to be on fire!!

  5. Bengalpuss says:

    I truly hope hell exists and this bastard gets to go there after his worthless life ends, fucking monster he is.

  6. 2cute says:

    Evil looking brute. Looks like a hell beast.

  7. Bengalpuss says:

    I also hope that if by chance a cat gets to go near him, it claws his fucking eyes out for killing that kitty and burning that dog, the sadistic cunt he is. That poor poor baby, she was such a little darling and this prick had to take her life in the most heinous wicked way. Please someone cave his skull in and do the world a favour and get rid of this piece of shit!!

    • Les says:

      Believe me, inmates at the prison he’s at are aware of him & most certainly would kill his ass at the first opportunity they had. Damn protective custody!

      • Bengalpuss says:

        Les, if i was a prison officer i would mistakenly forget to lock his cell door, also i would forget to lock away bubba and he would go for a stroll and wander to this cunt’s unlocked cell. This bastard shouldn’t be given the privilege of protective custody. Its so wrong that this cunt is allowed to keep breathing and the tax payers are paying to keep this twat with room, 3meals a day and health care, life is so unfair.

  8. michelle says:

    He should be charged with Amber’s death. I’m sure that the stress of living with the horror of what happened to her child, the ups and downs of the courts, and knowledge that the monster that tortured and murdered her beautiful child escaped the death penalty aggravated a medical condition, possibly undiagnosed, that would have remained benign if she didn’t have all the carp to deal with that he dropped on her. I hope his roommate is named Bubba.

  9. Angry Dad says:

    I agree with Jennifer C. Both the 22 year mother and this POS should be burn alive. I truly hope hell is real for these fking monsters. Hell, burn them slowly then pour acid on them. They should’ve suffer 10x as much. This is truly a heart wrenching story. May Amber and Kristen RIP.

  10. Les says:

    I remember that crime just like it was yesterday. It happened 2 or 3 miles from where I was living at the time. Right after it happened, I went to the site where he murdered his daughter & placed flowers and a card there. At that time, you could still see a black spot on the ground where he burned his daughter to death.
    Just how in the world can the state of Arizona rule that he shouldn’t be executed!? Hel-lo! He could drive a car! He could read & write! He was able to get a job! Just what more proof do you need to believe that he wasn’t retarded!? Thanks, Arizona, for giving me just another reason as to why me leaving Arizona was a very very very good choice on my part!
    Go fuck yourself, Arizona!
    I truly believe that Amber is now up in Heaven with his daughter. I will be in Heaven up there with them someday!
    Sean, you think being in isolation in protective custody(he wouldn’t dare be incarcerated with the general prison population; he’d get killed right away) 24/7 is bad, eh? Just try imagining it being infinitely worse where you’re going to after you die!

  11. Dan says:

    This sicko used to live across the street from our family. He had been in our house. Amber attended a small charter school that my mother taught at. Kristen had been to our house. This all made me very sick. He and the man he was living with used to vandalize houses in the neighborhood. He should be put to death.

  12. Bengalpuss says:

    I agree with you Dan, seems that the scumbag’s are always put before the victims. And this pig isn’t retarded he’s very clever and convinced those doctors that he is a retard, i really hope some other prisoner gets to him in jail but i don’t hold out much hope because he’s protected. Rip kristen and Amber, you deserved so much better.

  13. Timothy May says:

    You don’t even want to get me started you forgot a very important part I was married to his sister he had the audacity I blame my wife for the murder because she just happened to hurt herself on one of my kids stories and was it Urgent Care having your ankle looked at and because her car wasn’t in the driveway because she was at Urgent Care he had the audacity to tell her because your car wasn’t home I couldn’t drop her off I didn’t know what else to do so I kept driving until he went out and did what he did this cowards this Punk this piece of crap had the audacity to put the accountability on his sister instead of himself what a piece of you-know-what when I get time I’ll have to find a picture of me kissing her when I was working on her uncle’s car one of my favorite pictures it was this murder that was one of the last straw on the camel’s back that broke my marriage up as my wife wanted to continually visit him give him money on his books so he could buy things like cigarettes and TVs and stupid crap like that we spent half of our Saturday there it was bullcrap he wasn’t at the holiday and he was on death row luckily enough I’m a Christian I’m a member of the LDS church and I had the inside and the guidance to not feel comfortable with him around my kids cuz I had two kids from a previous relationship and fight with him the first day I met him I remember used to do the stupid as crap so I would allow him at my house or around my kids and I think the Lord I was at DMV getting my registration renewed when my wife called me to tell me oh my God oh my God he did it he killed her I remember it like yesterday if I didn’t learn my lesson the first time I turn around and married another family exactly the same way my heart goes out to my niece I hope she’s doing well as the Angels watch after her not sure what happened to her mom we didn’t see eye-to-eye either used a lot of the money from her desk in the wrong way but we all deal with sadness in different ways I just don’t think she has much of a mother we’ll look at the kind of girls that I pick to marry so don’t listen to me I just wanted to set the record straight on how big of a piece of crap he is and his sister’s not much better either as she had an affair with a guy she works with and she works at OfficeMax I don’t like how my wife had an affair when I was in Iraq defending our country like I said don’t look at the kind of girls I pick apparently I try to save people that have issues and the baggage they bring with them

  14. Timothy May says:

    Sorry my voice recognition doesn’t work very well but you get what I was trying to say

  15. Timothy May says:

    Oh by the way my name’s Timothy May I was married to Tracy Grell till this happens plus I found out she was having an affair with a guy she works with at Office Max go figure

  16. Jerry says:

    This POS was my son’s roommate sometime in the late 90’s but he got him out when he realized what a weirdo he was. I met him back then and was glad when he left. I was even more glad that he was no longer with my son in 1999 when he did that awful thing. May he rot in Hell.

  17. Jerry says:

    This POS was my son’s roommate sometime in the late 90’s but my son got him out when he realized what a weirdo he was. I met Grell one time when I visited my son and was so glad to see him go. I was elated that he was no longer with my son in 1999 when he did that awful thing. What in Hell does it take before the justice system does something? If he was retarded then why wasn’t he committed or something? May he rot in Hell.

  18. Cory says:

    I spent 11 months as a nurse working at the prison where this piece of sh** is living. I had to give him a “psych injection” every two weeks to ease his so-called mental suffering. I can tell you that the entire consensus among the shrinks and mental health folks down in Florence who are required by law and the ACLU to treat his “mental illness”, know what a sham and piece of worthless garbage he is. He is ABSOLUTELY NOT MENTALLY ILL, and I’ve been a nurse for over 30 years. Once the CO’s told me who he was (9 months into the job) I refused to inject him, and was told by Corizon that if I refused to give him his shots, I’d be fired. I quit after that.

    • Bengalpuss. says:

      Cory, its a shame you couldn’t have loaded that syringe with cyanide. Then claim your mentally ill like that bastard.

  19. AreYouF'nSerious?! says:

    Oh God. I really wish I hadn’t read this. I’ll bet he laughed the entire time she was screaming and burning. His eyes are completely EMPTY. He picked her up on purpose. He wanted to get back at his stupid wife and her parents. He was using them and when the gravy train ran out he got back at them by setting that beautiful darling on fucking fire while she was still alive and thinking she was about to see her mommy who she missed because I’m sure she was terrified of him. How could any kind of “loving, all powerful creator” allow this, or any of these fucked up crimes, to happen?!?! As the mother of a two year old (and a fifteen year old) this will haunt me until my dying day. I cab only imagine what the attending officers and EMTs are STILL going through, not to mention the family of that sweet babe. Why did his parents or family not tell the child’s mother how soulless he was? My ex’s family did the same to me, only alluding to his “temper issues” after I showed his less than average intelligence mother the bruises that covered my 8 months pregnant body while he was out of town. People are beyond evil. There is no word to describe atrocities such as these. 😖😞😭

  20. AreYouF'nSerious?! says:

    Cleo, if you’d like you can do a story on my son’s father, Jesse Ryan Hill. He just murdered a man in Reading, PA this past may. He tortured me, my daughter, his infant son and killed one of our cats. He tried to throw his mother down the stairs of our apartment and I stopped him, even though I’d just had a c-section. He’s done many horrible things to many people throughout his pathetic life, and I’d be more than happy to share details with you.

    • AreYouF'nSerious?! says:

      His daughter, who is now six or seven if I’m correct, suffers from seizures which I’m positive is due to his shaking her when she was a baby. When she’d visit us on some weekends, he flat out refused to give her her medication, and I got in trouble for trying to sneak it to her. He is pure evil.

      • AreYouF'nSerious?! says:

        This little girl’s mother is so out if touch with reality that instead of being HAPPY that I got my children away from this monster, she was angry at me for taking her daughter’s brother away!!! How twisted is that? Just the fact that she left her daughter with him on weekends after knowing what kind of monster he was herself, and through me telling her practically everything that went down shows you how stupid she is.

  21. Catherine Cat Saucier says:

    I actually lived with Amber and Shawn in a drug house when I was 15, I’m 35 now and sober. Shawn never seemed mentally slow. He would try and get Amber to fight while pregnant and she wouldn’t. He did have a soulless quality to him. I was knocked up at the time and didn’t know for sure until fighting Shawn. I cracked some of his ribs and then he kicked me in my stomach. MY baby didn’t make it either. He treated Amber and every female around him as subhuman. He constantly tried to get other males riled and to join his hatred. Luckily most people have limits. Once Kristen was born Amber brought me over to her parents house to meet her and hold her. While there I advised her to get rid of Shawn and just focus on this gorgeous little girl and herself. I know that relationships are much harder than that. I wish that Shawn had caught a stray bullet before he did what he did. I still see their faces and play scenes from my past over and over looking for the window of where I could have stopped this or how. It has become who I am to not just stand by quietly by when I see a child or a weaker person in need. I speak up personally or I call the authorities. I can’t change my past or anyone else’s but I can learn from it

  22. Annalisa says:

    I had a former student who worked in the Dept of Corrections in Arizona and had had contact with Grell. He said the guy’s good at playing that he’s “retarded” but that really there’s not a thing wrong with Grell’s intellect. The Arizona court system really screwed up on this case. Grell should have received the death penalty ages ago. I remember this case like it was yesterday. My own daughter was only a few months old when this happened and hit the news in the Phoenix area. Grell’s defense attorney, Treasure VanDruemel, is now representing another piece of scum “father” that killed his child, Jeffrey Martinson. I wonder how Treasure sleeps at night.

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