Merced judge sentences child molester to 60-plus years

MERCED — A 42-year-old man convicted of molesting two girls and then trying to have them killed by a hit man was sentenced Friday to 62 years to life in prison.

Deputy District Attorney Rob Carroll said Matthew Grose, who had been found guilty of more than 10 felonies in July, was sentenced in Merced County Superior Court Judge Carol Ash's courtroom.

Grose had been found guilty of lewd or lascivious conduct with a child under the age of 14, aggravated sexual assault, attempted murder and solicitation of murder, among other counts.

Grose molested two 13-year-old girls in Atwater between February and March 2007.

After he was jailed, he tried to hire a hit man to silence them. But the hit man was a disguised Merced County district attorney's office investigator. Grose had offered the investigator $20,000 to murder the girls.

Grose had asked another inmate about his plan to have the victims killed. That inmate contacted investigators, and that's when the undercover investigator posed as a hit man at the John Latorraca Correctional Center, where Grose was held. The undercover officer was wearing a hidden camera when he spoke to Grose about killing the girls.

Carroll said he was pleased by the sentence. Grose won't be eligible for parole until he has served at least 85 percent of his sentence.

"By my calculations, he'll be in his 90s before he's considered for parole," Carroll said.

One of the victims spoke at the sentencing Friday about how the molestation had ruined her life.

Carroll said he appreciates the hard work by law enforcement, but especially what the two girls went through.

"It took a lot of courage for those girls to testify," Carroll said.