Prosecutor won’t seek death penalty in McGraw murder trial

Published 2:34 pm Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Judge sets $750k bond

Travis McGraw will not face the death penalty and now has a chance to get out of jail prior to his trial for the murder of his wife, Vanessa Mintz.

McGraw, 44, of Hendersonville is facing first-degree murder charges and appeared in Polk County Superior Court Monday, Oct. 3.

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Assistant District Attorney Beth Dierauf said prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty, due to there not being enough aggravating factors in the case.

Judge Gary Gavenus set McGraw’s bond at $750,000. McGraw has previously been held at the N.C. Department of Corrections under no bond.

Mintz’ family attended court sessions on Monday with her daughters speaking of their fear of McGraw. Mintz’ oldest daughter also told the judge about a conversation she had with McGraw after her mother’s murder when McGraw said he was leaving town and that he was going into the woods where no one could find him.

McGraw’s mother, Joanne McGraw London, also attended and said if released from jail he would have a place to stay.

McGraw’s attorney, Tony Dalton told of McGraw’s work history in law enforcement, being a firefighter and being in the Air Force.

Mintz was found murdered at the Saluda Mountain Lodge, which her family owned at the time on Feb. 19, 2011. Evidence against McGraw includes a shotgun of McGraw’s that was tied to the crime scene, Dierauf said Monday. Dierauf also said McGraw had motive as he had a girlfriend who gave him an ultimatum about leaving his wife. The defense said they believe the answer to the ultimatum was McGraw shooting his wife.

McGraw entered a motion into superior court asking for cell phone evidence, including text messages between he and his girlfriend to be suppressed. That motion was not heard this week.

Judge Gavenus set McGraw’s bond at $750,000 and ordered McGraw not to possess any firearms or to have any contact with Mintz’ family if he makes bond.