Sept. 5, 2007: Husband arrested in death of arts school grad

  • Article by: TOM FORD and MARY LYNN SMITH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 2, 2008 - 11:21 AM

Matthew Gretz has "maintained his innocence since the very beginning," his attorney said. Kira Simonian was found slain in their apartment in June.

The husband of a Minneapolis artist who was found dead in her apartment in June has been arrested and jailed on suspicion of murder.

Kira Simonian, 32, a recent graduate of the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, died from what the Hennepin County medical examiner's office termed "complex homicidal violence."

Matthew Gretz, 33, who works in marketing for Target Corp., was being held in the Hennepin County jail Wednesday night after being arrested earlier in the evening; charges have not yet been filed.

Simonian's mother, Ferryl Simonian, who lives in the Chicago area, said she was "shocked" when police told her about Gretz's arrest Wednesday.

But she declined to comment further, deferring to her other daughters to speak about it. "I don't want anyone to be hurt anymore than they are," she said. "I'm just living and hoping to get through each day."

'We could never imagine'

Immediately after the slaying, the police told the family that they didn't have any suspects but that they couldn't rule anyone out.

"We were prepared for anything," said Lara Simonian, Kira's older sister. "We could never imagine anyone in our family being murdered."

Simonian said her sister and Gretz married three years ago after meeting in Chicago, where they both lived. "I just knew him as my sister's husband and a family member. ... He interacted with us and joked. ... Their relationship appeared to be a good one."

Gretz quit his job with the Chicago Tribune and the couple moved to Minneapolis so that Kira Simonian could pursue her master's degree in painting at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Lara Simonian said.

"They were going to move back to Chicago and start a family," Lara Simonian said.

Finding the person who killed her sister would help bring closure, Lara Simonian said. "But it doesn't change what happened to Kira. It's very difficult. We all feel very numb. We're trying to be strong and have faith that the police have done their job carefully and there will be justice for Kira."

Husband flew to New York

On June 28, the day the manager of Simonian's south Minneapolis apartment found her body, her husband had flown to New York on business, police have said.

It took authorities some time to reach Gretz, although he returned to Minneapolis within days of the homicide and had been cooperating with the investigation, police said.

Gretz's attorney, Ronald Meshbesher, said his client was surprised and upset when he was arrested. "He's maintained his innocence since the very beginning," Meshbesher said.

Gretz left town for his business trip at 5:30 a.m. two days before Simonian's body was found, Meshbesher said.

Police told Meshbesher that Gretz likely will be charged by Friday. "I'm anxious to find out what this is based on," Meshbesher said.

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