The man who won a new trial in the shooting deaths of his parents wants jurors to hear about another possible suspect who reportedly bragged about killing the couple.
At issue is whether Scott County Circuit Judge Paul Isaacs will allow attorneys for James A. "Anthony" Gray to present testimony regarding a man who Gray's public defenders say bragged about killing James and Vivian Gray at their home in 2007, the Georgetown News-Graphic reported.
Anthony Gray faces his third trial in the murder case next year, following a Kentucky Supreme Court decision in mid-February that overturned his 2013 conviction on murder and tampering with physical evidence charges. Gray's first trial ended in a hung jury in 2012.
Gray's defense team, led by public defender Rodney Barnes and Kristen Gonzalez, asked Isaacs on Thursday to allow testimony that could implicate Peter Hafer, a thief who authorities say burglarized a Cynthiana gun shop in late 2006 and sold the guns to James Gray.
Isaacs' decision not to allow such testimony in Anthony Gray's second trial — along with a recorded 20-minute confession Scott County Sheriff's investigators got from Gray at the end of a five-hour, unrecorded interrogation — was part of the reason the state high court cited for overturning the conviction and ordering a new trial.
But Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Keith Eardley argued the testimony — from a criminal associate of Hafer who knew the victims — is hearsay that should not be allowed.
"We are in a situation where a jury is going to hear hearsay testimony, which by its very nature is unreliable," Eardley said.
"That's the type of evidence that normally doesn't get in front of a jury," Eardley said.
Eardley asked Isaacs to allow prosecutors to question "alternative perpetrator" witnesses prior to their testimony before the jury.
Isaacs made no ruling, but scheduled another hearing on the motion for Dec. 8. Isaacs said Barnes and his defense team can submit supplemental materials before then.
The testimony alleges Hafer "was aware of the fact that James and Vivian (Gray) kept large amounts of money in their home... (and) that he had knowledge of a plan Hafer had come up with in order to rob and murder the Grays."
At Gray's first trial, Barnes had intended to call Hafer as a defense witness, but Hafer asserted his intention to exercise his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. The jury also did not hear from Jerry Quisenberry, who testified outside the jury's hearing that Jason Linville said Hafer had tried to enlist him in robbing the elder Gray.
Hafer pleaded guilty to a federal weapons charge relating to pistols stolen from the Cynthiana store. He was sentenced to 90 months in prison in late 2010, but was released on supervised probation last December.
Hafer also gained local notoriety in 2008, when he punched Doug Crickmer, his public defender, during a court appearance. Hafer knocked Crickmer unconscious as the pair stood before Circuit Judge Rob Johnson.
Gray remains lodged in jail on $500,000 bond as he awaits trial. Isaacs reduced Gray's bond from $1 million at a hearing this spring.