March 31, 1995 - Tucson, Arizona
MOTHER GUILTY ONLY OF CHILD ABUSE
- Angela Gray is acquitted of murder charges in the death of her 4-year old daughter, Rachael. The mother's live in boyfriend Barry Jones, goes on trial next week.
by MARIA ELENA C. LOPEZ
Tucson Daily Citizen, Staff Writer
Prosecutors had argued that Angela Rene Gray knew her 4-year old daughter, Rachael, was gravely injured the night before the child died, but chose not to take her to the hospital.
They asked jurors to find Gray guilty of felony murder and child abuse.
But after deliberating for about eight hours, jurors yesterday acquitted Gray of the murder charge while convicting her of reckless child abuse, a lesser charge than intentional child abuse.
Gray, 31 of the 4500 block of East Benson Highway, faces up to eight years and nine months in prison but could get probation in stead. She will be sentenced by Pima County Superior Court Judge James Carruth on April 28.
Prosecutors believe Barry Jones, Gray's 36 years old live-in boyfriend, inflicted the fatal blows on Rachel. He goes to trial in Superior Court next week on charges of first-degree murder and child abuse.
The night before Rachel died on May 2, 1994, Gray unclothed her daughter twice and must have seen the bruises on her body and the bleeding cut on her head Deputy County Attorney Kathleen Mayer argued.
"The fact is, she did see (the bruises) and she chose to lie," Mayer said.
The prosecutor told jurors that Gray later lied to detectives, saying she did not know the child was at risk because she realized she was in "serious trouble."
But in defense of Gray, Tucson attorney David Alan Darby said, "Rachael would have died no matter what was done that day."
Gray did not lie to the police, Darby said. "Angela (Gray) told them what happened to the best of her ability. She talked about basically the same things. (With each retelling), she remembered more details," Darby said.
"She was in shock. She was rambling." Darby said of Gray's condition when police taped their interviews with her.
Rachael's 11 year old sister testified that the night before the child died, she was Rachael, cradled in their mother's lap and her head bleeding, tell their mother that Jones hit her with a metal shoe bar.
In addition to the cut on her head and bruises on her body, Rachael was vomiting that night, jurors were told.
Doctors believe the injuries were inflicted several hours before Rachael died in the early morning hours of May 2, Mayer said.