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California triple murder-suicide has link to Ledyard

By Sasha Goldstein

Publication: theday.com

Published October 24. 2012 6:00PM   Updated October 24. 2012 11:52PM
Stockton Police Department/AP Photo
This undated photo provided by the Stockton, Calif., police department shows Collin McGrattan. The California man suspected of killing his estranged wife and two of her relatives before taking his own life had been locked in contentious divorce proceedings that included a fight over a property valued as high as $1 million, a divorce attorney has said.
California police say Colin McGrattan killed ex-wife, two others, then himself

A triple murder and suicide that shocked a California city Monday is connected to a longtime Ledyard family.

Stockton police said that Colin McGrattan, son of former Ledyard mayor and state Rep. Mary McGrattan, killed his ex-wife, her sister and her aunt before taking his own life.

The 45-year-old Colin McGrattan, a graduate of Ledyard High School and the University of Connecticut, was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound following the afternoon shootings in the northern California city about 1½ hours east of San Francisco.

Reached by phone Wednesday afternoon, Mary McGrattan declined to comment. A former five-term state representative for the 42nd District, McGrattan served eight years as mayor and is currently a member of the Ledyard Town Council.

Stockton police said Colin McGrattan first killed his ex-wife, 57-year-old Jackie Arata, before driving to the home of her sister, Kathleen Arata, 64, and fatally shooting her. He then drove to an asssited living facility in the city and killed his wife's aunt, 88-year-old Chizuko Kanieshi.

Police said he then shot himself with the same .38-special revolver he used in the three killings. Police recovered the tarp-covered body of Jackie Arata in the back of the silver minivan Colin McGrattan was driving.

According to The Record newspaper in Stockton, McGrattan had been involved in contentious divorce proceedings with Jackie Arata since their 2010 separation. At stake, according to reports, was an orchard property worth up to $1 million.

The couple had two teenage sons, the newspaper reported.

McGrattan was a marriage counselor, according to police. On the website for his marriage and family therapy practice, he describes himself as a "mediator and promoter of peaceful resolutions" who helps couples "make more rational decisions on policy." He also ran a Stockton-based nonprofit counseling organization.

Online records indicate McGrattan played at least one year of football at Ledyard High School and graduated in the mid-1980s. He graduated from UConn in 1990, according to his Facebook page, and earned a degree in counseling psychology in 1993 from a California university. He was one of six children and three stepchildren.

s.goldstein@theday.com

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