Jennifer Grasmick, RIP

Police silent on report that professor killed guest, self

Howard Jackson, 58, and Jennifer Grasmick, 31, were found dead Tuesday in a bedroom of Jackson’s home in the 400 block of University Circle in Claremont.

Jennifer and I didn’t always get along so well, especially during the six months or so we lived together, but despite how much I complained about her, I didn’t actually dislike her. She was one of those people you love to hate, you know? It’s been years since I saw her last, but she’s been around. Mutual friends of ours were still in touch with her so she comes up in conversation from time to time. Her crucifix has hung in every place I’ve lived since she gave it to me.

People die in car accidents and such all the time. It can be difficult to accept, but it makes sense. Accidents happen, and can happen to anyone. But something like this is so bizarre and illogical you don’t know what to think. I can’t imagine what could have led up to this, or what was going on just before it happened. Even more, I can’t imagine what it much have been like to have a friend do something like this to you.

I don’t know who took this picture but it’s been in my photo album for a long time.

Jennifer Grasmick

Jennifer Grasmick
1973 – 2004


Heather says:

sad, isn’t it?
especially when you her read her orbituary and see how much she has done with school, and knowing how much she had worked.
I’m glad you linked those articles, they are a lot more informed than the stuff I found a few days ago.

Laura says:

I’m very sorry to hear about your friend, Kenn. :(

carholeradio says:

I genuinely feel for Jennifer and her family, and wish I could do anything to take back that horrific event. I never met her, nor have I heard her voice, or even seen her pass by in a crowd. . . I only “knew” Jennifer through others, a few recalled experiences, and one or two photographs in a musty cardboard box.

It’s all felt like a slap in the face, something that in a million years wouldn’t happen to someone you “knew”. These things don’t happen to people you know, people your friends know. . . people your boyfriend was once married to.

. . .But they do. Horrible things happen and turn everyone’s worlds upside down, people you love are forced to face feelings and emotions and guilt that they are pushed to the limits to bear. People question the way they deal with others and dealt with others in the past, the things they did and did not do, the things they’ve thought and wished upon others.

When I learned about the murder, I felt like I had been knocked around: someone roughed me up, threw me to the ground, and left me there. I started to question my thoughts, the way I used to whine with my coworker about our boyfriends respective “exes”, the day I wrote in my journal “I hate her for the things she did to him,” the days I wished they had never met because of all the pain and hurt that came out of the divorce. . . I never wished anything bad on her, I just had a strong dislike for her, and now she’s dead — it makes you feel guilty and evil, the fact that you thought evil things about another person and now they’re gone. Makes you feel like you had some sick part in it, though it isn’t true.

It’s amazing, how the murder of someone you never knew can affect your life so much. Imagine building a close, intimate relationship with another person, and then suddenly their world is turned (violently) upside down — their close, intimate friend and lover of four years is brutally murdered in an instant. Immediately they’re sucked back to their life four years ago, they regress a little, and now they’re grieving over someone who held the place you wish you could have one day. Though my problems are relatively not so bad, how do you deal with something like that?

. . . I’m not sure how to end this comment, but figured it would be a different viewpoint to consider in relation to this incident.

nicole anderson-wolf says:

Today I was talking to a friend from high school when he told me about jennifer. Jennifer was one of my closest and best friends during high school. I think back on our relationship which at many times was a love/hate relationship. The sad thing is I lost contact with all of my friends when I moved to missouri. Jennifer, linda, robin,sara, suzie and nikki we were always together. The worst part is at the time she died I was planning my wedding thinking of how great it would be to get ahold of them and have them attend. Jennifer was a strong minded stubborn individual at many times. She also had a very gentle compassionate side of her as well. I will truly miss our debates and rivalry. Most of all I will miss our friendship because no matter how bad our disagreements were we always remained friends. Love you always and forever JEN RIP.
Love, Nicole Wolf

Kenn Christ says:

Thanks for your thoughts, Nicole.

I’ll admit I’m having a little trouble placing you, but I knew a few of the other people you mention so we must have met at some point. I’m not in touch with any of them anymore either.

Delilah Wilson says:

I knew Jennifer and she was one of my best friends. I think she was greatly misunderstood. I want to remember her kindess to others and her love of her family. I will always remember the summer 1991 and fun we had together. love and miss you, delilah

stacy cutler says:

I knew Jennifer in ’96. I worked with her at Walter’s. This many years later, I was still thinking about her. I looked her name up and was very sad to find out about what happened. It is hard to even imagine that she is not still out there somewhere living life. I have no connection with any of her friends or family which makes it hard, especially so many years after death, to get some closure. I would be interested in talking to other people who knew her.

Cynthia Pfeiffer says:

I am so surprised to find this blog!

I was Jennifer’s best friend at the time of her death. I had known her a couple of years, since we both worked at Harvard Square Cafe. As operating a cleaning service, I was cleaning her mother’s night stand when I got the call about the murder. I was screaming and hyperventeling. I had to wake her brother up and tell him to call the police. A client , whom is a professor at the colleges, read a report put out on the college web page, before she had been identified. I sat with her brother as he called family members. I was there when the police arrived to speak to the family.

I provided a beautiful recent picture of her, taken at a recent photo shoot. It was used in the obituary, and enlarged to display at the service.

This could be a long blog, my life has been a disaster since her death. She had asked me several times if I would write a book about her life and adventures. I plan to do that, but never knew she would leave so soon. Actually, I felt like she never planned on living much longer. Just the way she spoke, and how careless she was sometimes. I knew all of her secrets, and escapades. She called herself a free spirit. I called it living on the edge, teetering on out of control. She couldn’t be tamed.

We scattered her ashed in San Clemente. I kept some in a sealed, small decorative urn. I bring her on trips in my purse. We had bought a time share together, and planned to travel all over the world. She was wild and crazy, and just wanted to love and be loved.

Her family had let her down, and she had known Howard about 10 years, through school and Walter’s. He had always been madly in love with her. She took advantage of his generousity. He helped her out a lot financially the last couple of years, I guess this built his resentment. He wanted her to live with him, and be faithful only to him. She couldn’t do it. They had a big fight, the second week of the trial arrangement. He was sick-crazy. She laid down, probably for a nap before packing. He took 2 shots to her back with a shotgun. She was curled up with her favorite big teddy bear. How could you do that to someone you love? He wanted to own her. If he couldn’t have her, no one could.

She was the most unconditionaly loving person I have ever met, and it was a joy to know her. I have her pictures all around, and feel her presence everywhere with me. Stacy, e-mail me.

Cynthia Pfeiffer says:

Any one who would like to share some stories, I may use them in my book. I can be reached at

Thanks, Cindy

stacy cutler says:

I tried to reach Cindy at that email address but it keeps coming back as undeliverable. If anyone would like to contact me, my email is

cindy pfeiffer says:

Stacy, I have a new e-mail address, get in touch with me please. I want anyone who wants to share memories of Jen with me, for my book. Thank you. Her birhday is Aug. 5. I want to plan something, anyone gather photos, etc. and let me hear from you. Thanks, Cindy

cindy pfeiffer says:

Cindy Pfeiffer,

7565 Belpine Pl.
Rancho Cucamonga, Ca 91730

audree says:

I am at a loss for words, this deeply saddens me. As I am sure for many of you she held a special place in my heart and I can’t imagine how her life was up to the point of her departure from us…Jen and I have had many memories from 1990 -1993, we had a big impact on each others lives and It is scary to say but she seemed to be an angel who was here to fullfill a mission and move on to truely be that free spirit. I had and still have a huge amount of love for her and think of her often..I miss her smile, big beautiful eyes and sweet smell. I was Jens prom date,I remembered when she asked me to go I was only 14 at the time and felt so honored. we had such a blast going together, dressing up doing each others make-up..seemed to be risky and out of the norm at the time…going to the park and going down the slide, swinging having fun afterwords with our friends so much laughter this is how I remember her. .oh so many memories flooding my mind..some truly magical experiences and dramatic endeavors…adventure was her middle name..actually funny thing is we gave each other pet names, it was kind of our alter ego’s. Hers was Jennifer “Dae” mine was Opheillia. I have this lump in my throat and find it hard to recall and type this… it is painful. I am wanting to hold her and find I am too late to do so physically. So I turn to the spirit of her who is all around us and envelopes us in her lovely glow she is free and here to communicate with. Her journey was a short one impacting many and unforgettable. No longer held to her beautiful physical frame..I hope she is at peace flying freely . Thank you for providing this forum to share our thoughts. I will return as it is the part of her that lives on.

Cynthia Pfeiffer says:

It,s so fabulous to see people still keepping her in theirs hearts and thoughts. I had some trouble setting up an e-mail address, as I’m not too computer savy yet. I rarely have the time to get on. Because I’m looking for work, so many places have you apply online.
Stacy, it will really work this time if you try to reach me. The book that I’m writing will be “Falling Down Stairs. It really is mainly about how women are so effected by their upbringing. Jennifer and I shared similar abusive aspects to those times. And I think that’s why we clicked. Both she and I had a drinking problem. Although my main reason for writing this is to try to bring to light how wide spread this problem is, as well as how many women do it secretly, and are in the closet. Immediate family usually know, but most women and their family are in denail, and like to deny that it’s as serious as it can be.
I would like an entire chapter about her, called “Murder in Claremont”. I hope to express to women out there who have men willing to help them with money and gifts always want something in return. Many of these men are unstable, and it shows. Jennifer had made many comments about his strange personality and behavior, but she enjoyed the attention, and really believe that even though he was utterly obsessed, she thought he loved her so much he would never harm her. He was so obsessed he killed her rather than lose her.
she should never trusted him, knowing he was unstable, and was violently possesive.
She wanted to be called Caroline the last two years, and she called me “Cynthia Darling”, with a royal accenct. I miss her making me laugh.
Any one wanting to reach me can write at Thanks Cindy Pfeiffers

Gottta Get some sleep. I’ll write this

Cynthia Pfeiffer says:

Stacy, I’ll reach you next week, Cindy

cindy says:

any one wanting to add thoughts, and or stories for possible use in the book, please e-mail

I’ll eventually be posting some pictures taken within weeks of her murder. She definately loved life, she just was’nt careful enough to stick around a little longer.

Sara says:

Hello all,

I am thinking of Jennifer a lot today and this past week. Today was the day that her life ended so suddenly and tragically. I met Jennifer long ago when we were played softball together and were in the same youth group at church. Then we were very good friends in high school and she lived with my family her senior year. I moved away and came back and remained as close as ever. We hung out every night together and traveled on our first trip to Europe together. We moved to Morro Bay and then to San Luis Obispo together in 1997 and then back to Southern CA. I was maid of honor in her wedding and she was my maid of honor.

She had an exciting life…full of adventure…and full of pain sometimes too. She told me that she did not think she would live to be past 35 and did not want to. She wanted to stay young. She was exciting, thoughtful, emotional, passionate and always stood up for herself and others….and stray dogs too. She wanted to help people and she tried to help Howard who was way beyond being helped. Cynthia is right. He wanted no one else to have her and I once said to a friend (and I am pretty sure to her) that he would kill her and kill himself.

Our friendship (and all her close group of friends) was rocky toward the end of her life. We mutually split ways about a year before her death. In a way I felt that it saved me from the extreme turmoil of losing her but felt tremendous guilt for not being there for her.

When she died I spoke to her and asked if she wanted my help to suggest where her ashes would be scattered and be involved. I asked her to give me a sign. I woke up in the morning with a perfect J on my arm. Perfect red bumps that joined to form a J. I think of her every day and know that she is here with me.

Remembering you today and always Jennifer.


cindy (cynthia) says:

Yes, today if Jennifer’s birthday. I want to be happy, since I’ve been grieving since July 26th. last week the day she was killed. Five years without her for a friend. I wish we could have had five more. And Sara, if you want to e-mail, to swap stories, laughs, photos, etc. please write. I finally have an e-mail that works. It’s — Any one else feel free to write. Let’s all wish her a HAPP BIRTHDAY ! We all love and miss you.