Footage said to show murder’s aftermath
Stars and Stripes March 26, 2009
DAEGU, South Korea — The Army captain accused of killing his wife in their Camp George apartment and dumping her body was caught on elevator camera footage struggling with a heavy suitcase that contained his wife’s corpse, prosecutors said Tuesday.
Prosecutors showed the footage during the court-martial of Capt. Christopher Gray, who is accused of killing his wife, 27-year-old Lea Gray, on April 20.
Her severely decomposed, partially skeletonized body was found May 9 in a ditch, covered with weeds and brush, in a wooded area not far from Camp Carroll in Waegwan, about 40 minutes north of Daegu, prosecutors said.
She died of a toxic dose of diphenhydramine, an antihistamine, medical experts have testified.
Gray has pleaded not guilty to premeditated murder, obstruction of justice, and conduct unbecoming an officer.
Gray’s court-martial began Monday at Camp Henry in Daegu before a seven-member jury of Army officers and military judge Col. Donna M. Wright.
Prosecutors contend Gray grew outraged with his wife’s repeated infidelity and hatched a carefully researched plan to murder her.
He used the Internet to research ways to kill her, bought over-the-counter medications that contained diphenhydramine, and, after administering a deadly dose, stuffed her in a suitcase, lugged the suitcase to his Nissan Maxima, drove to a secluded area in Waegwan and dumped the body, prosecutors contend.
Gray’s lead defense lawyer, civilian Richard V. Stevens, told jurors Monday that what the prosecution would offer as evidence would not link Gray to his wife’s death.
"There are problems both with the evidence and with the investigation," he said.
On Tuesday, prosecutors showed sequences of elevator camera footage that are a central element in their case against Gray.
The footage showed Lea Gray getting off the elevator on the fifth floor of the Grays’ apartment building at 11:07 a.m. April 20.
She was never again seen alive outside the apartment, prosecutors said.
Later that night, at 11:48 p.m., Christopher Gray is seen on camera, struggling with a large wheeled suitcase.
Gray then drove to Waegwan, dumped the body, and drove back to Daegu, prosecutors said.
Key points in the trip were caught on South Korean highway camera footage, according to testimony Monday.
Images from one of the cameras place Gray at a spot about a five-minute drive from where his wife’s body was eventually found, according to the prosecution.
Once back in Daegu, Gray stopped near the Daebaek Plaza shopping mall in Daegu, where he allegedly discarded his wife’s pocketbook in a trash can and changed from civilian clothes into an Army uniform.
He returned to Camp George at 2:39 a.m. April 21, and, though it was after curfew, security personnel allowed him onto the installation unchallenged, according to testimony.
About three hours later, a local man on his way to morning exercise found the pocketbook. He brought it to local police, who turned it over to U.S. Army military police, according to testimony.
Gray never reported his wife missing, according to prosecutors, and when MPs came to his apartment with the pocketbook later that day, he allegedly showed no alarm and asked no questions as to her possible whereabouts.
Jurors heard testimony from Army criminal investigators who said a search of Gray’s apartment turned up a bag containing items he allegedly purchased from the Camp Walker post exchange and used in his wife’s murder.
A receipt for those items was also in the bag, which was found under a kitchen sink, according to testimony.
Among items listed were over-the-counter medicines containing diphenhydramine, duct tape, latex gloves, a plastic tarp, a boning knife, lawn and trash bags, and an enema kit. One trash bag, some latex gloves, the enema kit, medication, and the knife were missing from the bag and were never found, according to testimony.
The trial was to resume Wednesday morning.