Hearing held for officer in wife’s death
August 13, 2008
DAEGU, South Korea — The wife of an Army captain accused of killing her had a stormy relationship with him, considered him "boring," and was keeping up a round of extra-marital affairs in the period leading up to her death, according to testimony Monday at a pretrial hearing in the case.
Capt. Christopher Gray is charged in the death of Lea Gray, 27, whose badly decomposed body was found in a fetal position May 9 in an area of bushes just a few feet from a roadside in Waegwan.
She was fully clothed and tests showed no evidence of sexual assault.
The pretrial hearing, known as an Article 32 proceeding, opened Monday at Camp Henry and was to resume Tuesday. It will be up to the hearing officer to recommend whether the evidence warrants moving the case to trial.
According to Monday’s testimony, Lea Gray died from a chemical called diphenhydramine, an antihistamine which was found in her body at a toxic level. A second substance, acetaminophen, also was present at a toxic level.
Medical examiners found no evidence of bruises, knife or gunshot wounds, or any other trauma, according to testimony. She was identified through dental records.
"Based on the lack of trauma and diphenhydramine level ... we determined that she died from diphenhydramine intoxication," Air Force Col. Abubakr A. Marzouk testified by telephone. Marzouk is deputy medical examiner with the Armed Forces Medical Examiner at Rockville, Md.
Prosecution witnesses detailed the various investigative tracks they pursued in the case, including a check of what purchases Christopher Gray made at the Camp Walker post exchange; footage from South Korean highway and toll gate cameras and a camera in the elevator of the couple’s Camp George residence, and a search of Gray’s computers.
His alleged purchases April 8 included boxes of medication, including one that induces sleep; duct tape, latex gloves, an enema kit, a boning knife, solid moss green kitchen towels, a blue plastic tarp, and "lawn and leaf" bags.
An Army Criminal Investigation Command agent testified that a search of Christopher Gray’s computers turned up various key words that had been typed into a search engine several days before those purchases, including: "how to tie up a person without leaving marks"; "over the counter suicide drugs"; "self-induced asphyxiation"; "accidental death"; "identifying body parts"; "soluble pills"; and "woman charged with killing husband with enema.""
Prosecution witnesses testified that an elevator camera showed Christopher Gray getting on at the fifth floor — where the couple lived — and carrying a large suitcase, at the time authorities believe she disappeared. During the same critical period, road cameras at several points along the Daegu-Waegwan highway system recorded Christopher Gray’s vehicle on the road late at night, according to testimony.
Under cross-examination by chief defense lawyer Richard V. Stevens, a civilian attorney of Colorado Springs, Colo., an Army investigator acknowledged that agents had not read Gray his rights on the day they questioned him.
Stevens said he would make that an issue at a future point in the case.
In the course of his cross-examination of witnesses, Stevens said Lea Gray had been having extra-marital affairs with several men, one of them allegedly a sergeant first class.
Among Lea Gray’s cell phones was one that she used exclusively for calling other men, according to testimony.
A woman who had been a close friend of Lea Gray’s testified that Gray had complained that her husband was "boring." The couple were in continual conflict, the woman testified, and were attending counseling sessions daily.
The hearing is going forward before Marine Maj. Steven Keane, of the 8th U.S. Army staff judge advocate’s office.