Now 18, killer of teacher studies to win release on appeal

Associated Press
Published May 23, 2005

WEST PALM BEACH - Nathaniel Brazill is five years into a 28-year prison sentence for shooting and killing his English teacher when he was 13. But he says one thing is usually not on his mind: his victim.

Brazill, now 18, said he rarely thinks about Barry Grunow, whom Brazill shot in May 2000 after the Lake Worth Middle School teacher refused to let him talk with two girls in his classroom.

What he does think about nearly every day at the Brevard Correctional Institution in Cocoa is the hope that future appeals could result in his release by 2013, he told the Palm Beach Post . He has spent some of his time in prison studying law and is considering representing himself, he said.

Presented with a picture of Grunow with his family, Brazill's voice remained flat: "It's heartbreaking that he's not there with them."

He said he would like his teacher's family to know he is sorry for their loss.

"I think of how terrible it is that he's gone," Brazill said, adding after being pressed: "I am responsible for the loss."

Pam Grunow, once a teacher of special-needs children, never weighed in publicly on what should happen to her husband's killer.

"I feel sad about the choices he made that day," are her strongest words now.

She moved with her son, 10, and daughter, 5, to be closer to her husband's family and her parents.

"I am doing my best to heal, be happy and move forward," she said. "Sometimes, it feels like I am on track, and sometimes it doesn't."

At the correctional institution, Brazill leads the choir and hopes to get a job with the chaplain, he said. He said prison doesn't seem like much of a punishment, but rather a way to keep dangerous people off the streets. "We're here as punishment, but we're not really being punished," he said.