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Man pleads guilty to murder in crash that killed Springdale police officer Kaia Grant

Terry Blankenship in Room A 1 042120.jpg
Posted at 1:41 PM, Apr 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-30 15:04:18-04

CINCINNATI (AP) — A man accused of killing a police officer by crashing into her during a chase last year has pleaded guilty to aggravated murder.

Terry Blankenship entered his plea Friday as part of a deal with Hamilton County prosecutors, who agreed to not seek a death sentence.

The 43-year-old Blankenship then received a life term, though he will be eligible to seek parole after serving 30 years.

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said he is satisfied with the sentencing outcome.

“Today’s sentence delivers a measure of justice, but no penalty in this life will be enough for a cop killer," Yost said. "I am proud of BCI’s work investigating this case and thankful for the work of the Hamilton County Prosecuting Attorney for securing this sentence. The void created by Officer Grant’s sacrifice can never be filled and she will never be forgotten.”

Springdale Officer Kaia Grant was killed on March 21, 2020 when Blankenship deliberately crashed into two cruisers near State Route 4 as Grant and Sgt. Andrew Davis were preparing to put down stop sticks, according to police. Blankenship was fleeing from Elmwood Place police after he evaded a traffic stop. The officers were outside of their cruisers when the crash happened.

Grant's family issued a statement following the sentencing Friday.

"No parent should ever have to outlive their child. Kaia’s father will never walk his daughter down the aisle. Kaia’s mother will never experience having a baby shower for her daughter. The fabric of the family’s soul has been shredded by the senseless act by someone who can only be described as evil. We ask for prayers to help the family through the grieving process and to let go of anger of having our beautiful daughter, sister, niece, and granddaughter taken away from us far too soon."

"Well educated and bilingual, Kaia Grant could have been anything she wanted to be. She chose a life of service to people. She exemplified best in what every police chief wants in an officer. Professionalism, disciplined, well spoken, and empathetic. The family is honored and humbled by the many stories of Kaia’s service and the tremendous impact she had on the Springdale Police Department and the greater community at the age of 33."