Couple Dead in Fairlee
Police: Husband Shot Wife Before Killing Self
A man speaks on a cell phone outside a site that law enforcement officials allege was the scene of a murder-suicide in Fairlee, Vt. on August 13, 2013. Valley News - Elijah Nouvelage Purchase photo reprints »
Herb Gray's voice booms through the loudspeaker carried by his son Troy Gray as he leads buyers up to the barn where the milking equipment and heifers will be sold in 2007. Police say Troy Gray shot and killed his wife on Tuesday before turning the gun on himself.
Valley News - James M. Patterson Purchase photo reprints »
Sr. Vermont State Troopers Richard Ostrout, left, and Charles Schulze, right, confer in the driveway of a home that law enforcement officials allege was the scene of a murder-suicide while a crime scene technician takes photos in Fairlee, Vt. on August 13, 2013. Valley News - Elijah Nouvelage Purchase photo reprints »
Vermont State Police Maj. Ed Ledo, center, speaks at a press conference in Bradford, Vt. following what state troopers allege was a murder-suicide in Fairlee that took the lives of two people on August 13, 2013. Valley News - Elijah Nouvelage Purchase photo reprints »
Fairlee — A 42-year-old man fatally shot his wife and then killed himself inside their Fairlee home early Tuesday, State Police said, just days after she withdrew a second restraining order that she had taken out against him for alleged domestic violence.
Troy Gray was inside his home on Sunrise Drive around 8 a.m. yesterday when he fired one shot from a Winchester rifle at Rhonda Gray, 43, before shooting himself once, police said.
A person who lived inside the home heard the gunshots coming from the second-floor kitchen, discovered their bodies and called police.
Troopers had visited the home on Monday night, after receiving a report that Troy Gray had entered the home, against his court-ordered conditions of release stemming from a charge of assaulting Rhonda Gray in late July.
When troopers arrived at the home, however, Rhonda Gray denied that her husband had been there, and there was no other evidence to support charging Troy Gray, Maj. Ed Ledo said yesterday.
“Troopers asked all the right questions, conducted an investigation — (there) was nothing to indicate he was there or had been there,” Ledo said during an evening press conference at the State Police barracks in Bradford, Vt. “Had Mr. Gray been found there, I’m confident troopers would have arrested him.”
The alleged murder/suicide was the culmination of months of escalating violence, according to court records from Vermont and New Hampshire.
Troy Gray was facing charges in connection with the July assault, and had been under court order to avoid the home and not to possess firearms. Rhonda Gray told police that her husband had previously pointed a “finger gun,” at her head and threatened her life.
“I wish this was real so I could sit here and watch you bleed and I’d kick you to make sure you were dead,” Troy Grey had allegedly told her, according to Orange Superior Court documents.
Though a judge’s restrictions stemming from the criminal charge were still in place yesterday, Rhonda Gray twice in recent months rescinded restraining orders that had been issued against her husband.
The Grays had at least two high school-age daughters, according to Orange Superior Court documents, and had been together for about five years, Ledo said.
There was no indication that Rhonda Gray was preparing to leave Troy Gray, Ledo said, and Troy Gray did not leave a note explaining his actions.
A 2-year-old child was inside the home at the time of the shootings, police said, but it was unclear if the child was related to the Grays. Family members could not be reached for comment yesterday.
On July 25, troopers were called to the home by the Grays’ 17-year-old daughter after Troy Gray allegedly punched Rhonda Gray in the face after she told him she was moving out, according to court affidavits.
Troy Gray told police that he was upset at his wife because he believed she had been unfaithful. He claimed that she had been the “aggressor,” in the altercation and that “he was the victim,” according to affidavits.
But the daughters told police a much different story. They said their father had choked one of them during the argument and saw him punch their mother.
Moreover, they said, he had recently kicked Rhonda Gray in the vagina, and threatened additional violence, prompting them at one point to spend a night in a hotel, according to court documents. Troy Gray later promised one his daughters that he would “never touch my mom ever again or we could call the cops and he would walk away and let us have everything,” one of the daughters wrote in a witness statement. But the violence and threats soon resumed.
Troopers arrested Gray that July night, even though Rhonda Gray, whose face was swollen, said that “things had got out of hand,” and repeatedly told police that she did not want him arrested.
As a result of the charges, Judge Timothy Tomasi ordered Troy Gray to avoid contact with Rhonda Gray or their daughters, and to stay away from the home and refrain from possessing any firearms, according to court documents.
Additionally, the judge issued a restraining order.
But last week, the judge rescinded the order, after Rhonda Gray declared she wanted it dropped.
Just two weeks before the alleged July assault, Gray pleaded guilty to one charge of simple assault and received a $500 fine in Haverhill Circuit Court, for allegedly choking Rhonda Gray during an altercation in May at the River Meadow Campground in North Haverhill.
As a result of that incident, a New Hampshire judge issued a restraining order against Troy Gray, but that order too was soon dropped, at Rhonda Gray’s request, state police said.
Yesterday, Ledo said police learned of still other incidents that were never reported to law enforcement.
Rhonda Gray became the fifth victim of domestic violence-related homicide in Vermont in the past three months, Ledo said. He urged victims to come forward and solicit help through the Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence online
“It is not just about the pushing, the shoving, the kicking and the punching. It is all about power and control,” Ledo said. “We need people to be aware of the signs of the control. The victims need to get out of the cycle of violence. (Police) can only do so much. Victims have to trust the system and the resource they have (available).”
After obtaining a search warrant, the Vermont State Police Crime Scene Team spent the day inside the home, just off Route 5.
The small road was blocked off by state cruisers all day as troopers went in and out of the two story home, shrouded by trees that follow a curving driveway.
The bodies were transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for autopsies, but Major Ledo confirmed the case was being treated as a murder/suicide and is all but closed.
Troy Gray said he worked for CW Gray & Sons Inc., the auction business his family runs in East Thetford off Route 5, according to Orange Superior Court documents.
A man at Gray’s Field, site of their auctions, said the family did not wish to comment yesterday.
Police asked anyone with information about the incident to call the Bradford barracks at (802)222-4680.
Mark Davis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-727-3304.