The 48 Hours: NCIS episode “The Sting,” investigates the 1983 murder of 46-year-old Navy petty officer Mervin “Sonny” Grotton of Belfast, Maine. He was shot three times with a rifle as he walked from his truck to his front door. His wife Norma Grotton Small (who was inside the house) was a prime suspect as she was known to talk about how unhappy she was in her marriage. Nineteen years after Grotton’s murder, in 2002, Small was found guilty of hiring Joel Fuller to murder her husband and of theft (she collected more than $180,000 in survivor benefits from the Navy). When the case was reopened, Fuller was already serving two life sentences in prison for drug-related murders. Small is currently serving a 70-year sentence in prison.
Sonny Grotton’s son Michael Grotton*, who is now 50, said of his parents: “The contrast between him [his father, Sonny Grotton] and my mother is just amazing. They couldn’t be any more different.” Grotton said his father was “a morally focused person” while his mother “ was always running a con. She was very unfaithful. It made a very unstable home life for us.”48 Hours: NCIS airs Tuesdays at 10pm on CBS.
*Note: Norma Small survived a house fire in 1959 but three of her young children (4, 2, and 7 months) did not. After the tragedy, Grotton and Small had three more children including Michael and his two sisters.