Scott County man convicted of murdering his parents

gkocher1@herald-leader.comFebruary 28, 2013 

A Scott County jury convicted a man in the 2007 shooting deaths of his parents and recommended 45 years in prison, according to WKYT.

The verdict against Anthony Gray, 43, was announced just after 11 p.m., and the sentencing recommendation was delivered about 3 a.m. Friday.

Gray, whose first trial ended in a hung jury, would serve 20 years for killing his mother, Vivian Gray, and 20 years for murdering his father, James Gray, WKYT reported. The jury said the sentences should run consecutively and added five years for tampering with physical evidence. Anthony Gray could be eligible for parole in 20 years under that sentencing plan.

The judge will make a final decision about sentencing later.

The jury of seven men and five women deliberated about 11 hours Thursday before reaching a decision. Last year, a jury deadlocked and could not reach a unanimous verdict after more than 10 hours of deliberations.

A sense of déjà vu hung over Thursday's proceedings when, after about five hours behind a closed door, the jury asked to watch for a second time a videotaped police interrogation of Gray and to listen again to audiotaped interviews with him. Last year's panel asked to watch similar evidence for a second time before determining that it could not reach a verdict.

Gray testified in both trials that an interrogator with the sheriff's office coerced him into giving a confession.

The prosecution argued that Gray had motive because his parents had informed him that they intended to disinherit him and leave their estate to their grandchildren.

Gray's parents were found dead the morning of April 26, 2007, in their home on Cincinnati Pike near Sadieville.

James Gray, 63, an IBM retiree, had been shot twice in the head, and Vivian Gray, 55, had been shot once in the head. Investigators have said there did not appear to be a break-in, and numerous firearms and other valuables had not been removed.

In his closing argument, public defender Rodney Barnes told the jury, "We're not asking for anything but a verdict of not guilty because we believe he (Anthony Gray) was not there."

Barnes said the prosecution did not meet the burden of "beyond a reasonable doubt" because the Scott County sheriff's department, which investigated the case, did not do its job.

"Their conduct and lack of investigating ... does not engender trust," Barnes told the jury. "They didn't check for trace evidence. They didn't check for fingerprint evidence."

Later, Barnes said, "That burden of proof, that standard of proof — that is what keeps innocent people from going to prison."

In his closing argument, Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Keith Eardley defended the sheriff's office's investigation.

"I'm going to call this a thorough investigation, and he (Det. Rodger Persley) drew the conclusions that any reasonable person would draw," Eardley said.

"I can't say exactly what was going on in Anthony Gray's head," Eardley said. "The evidence shows that he did it, and the evidence shows that he knew he was caught."

Greg Kocher: (859) 231-3305. Twitter: @HLpublicsafety.

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