Grays Plead Guilty to Reckless Homicide
By: Erica Byfield
Paducah, KY - In front of a packed court room, one word, by two parents, sent shock waves through the court room... “Guilty.”
After more than a year of gathering evidence in this case against sandy and Johnnie gray McCracken county commonwealth attorney Tim Kaltenback tells me this is the ending he'd hoped for. "I'm pleased and I obviously stand behind it and stand behind and believe it is consistent with other convictions in similar circumstances," said Kaltenback.
It’s also a conclusion lead detective Tom Emery with the McCracken County Sheriff Department calls outrageously emotional. "In our job we have emotion and in our job we deal with facts... and today the facts were represented," said Emery.
Kaltenback also tells me if the grays didn't agree to the plea deal it could have been a huge feat to find an impartial jury. "I asked Sims and Emery to make a statement before the plea for the reason if the Gray's would have not plead today we would have had a hard time picking a jury," said Kaltenback.
Here’s the evidence the Commonwealth says could have held up in court against the Grays...First, both Sandy and Johnnie Gray lied to detectives at the beginning of the investigation. Second, the Grays were reckless in the care of Katie, by not notifying authorities of her disappearance until after one in the morning, when the incident happened around ten pm. I also learned each of the Grays did under go a polygraph test and quote "passed with flying colors."
Emery adds after the initial interviews the grays started to tell a consistent story. "After we found out when this actually did occur after that they were consistent with me their interviews, they didn't change their story, they stayed the same," said Emery.
To prove it investigators did call in experts from across the country. And in the end Kaltenback, Emery and Coroner Dan Sims say it's "likely" Katie gray and her car seat ended up in the Ohio river, about 4 miles away from where she original fell into the water.
There findings also state with the weather conditions that evening it could have taken somewhere between 44 and almost two hours for the her and the car seat to reach the river, just about the time her parents reported her missing. Although they've yet to find Katie, Coroner Dan Sims says he won't stop searching.