Advertisement

Prosecutors seeking death penalty after child’s body found buried at Roane Co. home

Tenn. officials seeking the death penalty for an Michael Gray Sr. and Shirley Gray.
Published: Mar. 2, 2021 at 12:47 PM EST|Updated: Mar. 2, 2021 at 5:40 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -Tennessee prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for an East Tennessee couple after a child’s body was found buried at a Roane County home in May 2020.

According to Roane County Criminal Court documents, the state is seeking the death penalty in the event Shirley Gray and Michael Gray Sr. are convicted of first-degree murder.

An investigation into the couple began May 22 when the Roane County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call stating someone dropped off a boy who said he didn’t know where his parents were or where he was.

The state intends to prove the following statutory aggravating circumstances against Shirley Gray:

  1. The murder was committed against a person less than 12 years of age and the defendant was 18 years of age or older.
  2. The defendant knowingly created a great risk of death to two or more persons, other than the victim murdered, during the act of murder.
  3. The murder was especially heinous, atrocious or cruel, in that it involved torture or serious physical abuse beyond that necessary to cause death.
  4. The murder was knowingly committed, solicited, directed or aided by the defendant while the defendant was a substantial role in committing or attempting to commit aggravated child abuse.
  5. The murder was knowingly committed, solicited, directed or aided by the defendant, while the defendant had a substantial role in committing or attempting to commit aggravated child neglect.
  6. The murder was knowingly committed, solicited, directed or aided by the defendant, while the defendant had a substantial role in committing or attempting to commit kidnapping.

The state intends to prove the following statutory aggravating circumstances against Michael Gray Sr.:

  1. The murder was committed against a person less than 12 years of age and the defendant was 18 years or older.
  2. The defendant knowingly created a great risk of death to two or more persons, other than the victim murdered, during the act of murder.
  3. The murder was especially heinous, atrocious or cruel, in that it involved torture or serious physical abuse beyond that necessary to cause death.
  4. The murder was knowingly committed, solicited, directed or aided by the defendant, while the defendant had a substantial role in committing or attempting to commit aggravated child abuse.
  5. The murder was knowingly committed, solicited, directed or aided by the defendant, while the defendant had a substantial role in committing or attempting to commit aggravated child neglect.
  6. The murder was knowingly committed, solicited, directed or aided by the defendant, while the defendant had a substantial role in committing or attempting to commit kidnapping.

Michael Gray, Sr. and Shirley Gray both pleaded not guilty on all charges.

The couple is also facing charges in Knox County after a child was discovered at a Halls home that was linked to the Grays.

Copyright 2021 WVLT. All rights reserved.