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PYEONGTAEK, South Korea — The mother of murder victim Lea Gray became so distraught when she saw her daughter’s clothes in the victim’s Camp George apartment in Daegu last week that her military escort offered to take her back to her hotel.

Army officials had escorted Marilyn Bahena and another daughter, Celeste, to the apartment on March 27, a day after a military jury sentenced Capt. Christopher Gray to life in prison with eligibility for parole for the April 20 murder of his 27-year-old wife.

The women went to the apartment to claim some of Lea Gray’s belongings, said Bahena, 52.

Marilyn and Celeste Bahena, 29, had flown to Daegu from their home in Cebu, Philippines, to attend the last day of the trial.

Prosecutors said Gray killed his wife by administering a lethal dose of an over-the-counter medication because he’d tired of her adultery. They said he’d concluded she married him only to get U.S. citizenship. He stuffed her body into a suitcase and dumped her in a wooded area north of town, prosecutors said.

On entering the Grays’ former apartment, the elder Bahena broke into tearsat the sight of her slain daughter’s red short-sleeved blouse on top of a washing machine, she said in a telephone interview with Stars and Stripes.

That and other belongings triggered memories of the few months the mother and daughter had spent in the Grays’ home near Fort Hood, Texas, in the summer of 2007, while Christopher Gray was deployed to Iraq, Bahena said.

"I cried because for me, Lea was there," she said. "I saw Lea in the apartment. Walking around."

Army Maj. Veronica Hansen, the deputy staff judge advocate at the Camp Henry legal office, was escorting the Bahenas, the women said.

Because a full inventory is not yet done, the women were allowed to take only a few items from the apartment — some clothing, shoes and a handbag.

Meanwhile, Marilyn Bahena remains insistent that when authorities release Lea Gray’s remains, they be sent to the Philippines for burial. Her severely decomposed body was found May 9 in a ditch in Waegwan.

Authorities have advised Marilyn Bahena not to brave a look at her daughter once the remains are returned.

"We don’t mind if it doesn’t look good. As long as we have her remains," she said. "But for me, I want to see her."

The Bahenas also are keeping a close eye on Lea Gray’s daughter Bianca, 7, who last week caught a glimpse of a newspaper article about Gray’s court-martial.

Bianca is not Christopher Gray’s biological child.

"She didn’t read it all, but she read some," Bahena said. "I even ask her: ‘What do you think of it?’

"‘I miss Mama, Mama Lea.’ And I told her, ‘What about Chris?’ And she said, ‘I miss him a little bit.’ I think she doesn’t understand.

"And later in the afternoon, she told me that she cried, and I asked her, ‘What made you cry?’ "

The child answered that it was a quote in the article from prosecutor Capt. Kevin Hynes telling jurors about Bianca: "Never again will she hear her mother’s voice; never again will she feel her mother’s embrace."

"I really pity Bianca," Bahena said. "Why did Chris do it? Why did he kill Lea? If Lea cheated him, why did he not divorce Lea? He has no right to kill Lea just like that."

Convicted former captain moved to Leavenworth facilityPYEONGTAEK, South Korea — Former Army Capt. Christopher Gray has been flown out of South Korea to the U.S. Army’s prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., officials said Friday.

A military jury on March 26 sentenced Gray, 38, to life in prison with eligibility for parole for the April 20 murder of his wife Lea Gray, 27.

The jury also sentenced him to dismissal from the military, a reprimand, and forfeiture of all pay and allowances.

He will not be eligible to request parole until he’s served 20 years of his sentence, officials said.

He had been confined at the Eighth U.S. Army Confinement Facility at Camp Humphreys and departed South Korea on Thursday.

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