ADA — The Pontotoc County District Attorney’s Office is seeking the death penalty against two people charged with murdering Ada resident Garry Gray.
On Thursday, Assistant District Attorney Jim Tillison filed a bill of particulars on each of the two defendants, 46-year-old Bryan Keith Ross and 32-year-old Kendra Renee LeFors. The documents must be filed in order for a jury to consider the death penalty, should the case go to trial. Ross and LeFors were in court Thursday. They are due back in court April 3, 2015, for a preliminary hearing.
In the documents, Tillison said Ross and LeFors “…should be punished by death, due to and as a result of the aggravating circumstances…”
Tillison said Ross met three of those circumstances and LeFors met two. For both, he said, “the murder was especially heinous, atrocious and cruel” and there is a probability that both Ross and LeFors would commit additional violent crimes and be a “continuing threat to society.”
Tillison also listed that Ross was previously convicted of a felony involving violence or the threat of violence to a person.
According to the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, Ross served 20 years of a 30-year sentence — from 1988 to 2008 — for larceny of an automobile, feloniously pointing a firearm, attempted first-degree burglary and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.
Both Ross and LeFors are charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit a felony, first-degree robbery and larceny of an automobile.
Gray, 67, was found in his apartment Aug. 31, with severe head trauma from being beaten and had his throat cut in several places. He died at an Oklahoma City Hospital several days later. He had been on life support since he was hospitalized.
Ada Police Detective Kathi Johnston said both Ross and LeFors took part in the murder. According to a court affidavit filed by Tillison, the two caused Gray’s death “by then and there beating and stomping the face and head of … Gray and slashing his throat with a knife, with the deliberate intent to unlawfully take (his life).”
Although Gray wasn’t found until Aug. 31, Ross and LeFors were arrested by a park ranger in the Chickasaw National Recreation Area in Sulphur Friday, Aug. 29. They had Gray’s 2001 Cadillac, credit and debit cards and checkbooks with them.
Johnston said Ross and LeFors used Gray’s credit cards at various ATMs in the area to get cash.
Ross had a bloody knife, which has since been sent to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation crime lab to determine if it is Gray’s blood on the knife. Officials are still waiting on the results.
Johnston said LeFors had been living with Gray for approximately two months before the murder, but he had asked her to leave because she was causing problems for him at his apartment. Detectives said during interviews, Ross (who said he was LeFors’ boyfriend) and LeFors (whose husband is currently serving time in prison) claimed they believed Gray wasn’t treating LeFors right, and that was their explanation for why they killed him.
Ada police detectives believe robbery for money and possessions was the motive. LeFors had been out on bail after being charged Aug. 4 with felony possession of methamphetamine and, Tillison said, she has criminal histories in three other states.
The arrest and discovery
National Park Ranger Heather Hamilton was patrolling in the Chickasaw National Recreation Area when she saw Ross and LeFors arguing near Gray’s vehicle. She radioed for backup, confronted the two and separated them.
Ross said they had “just been playing with each other,” Hamilton said in a report. “As I spoke with Ross, I could smell the strong odor of what smelled like cat urine. This odor is consistent with methamphetamine.”
Hamilton detained Ross and during a search, found he had “many knives,” she said. “I took several knives off Ross’ person. One of the knives was a hunting knife in a sheath. I later examined the knife and observed it was covered in dried blood.”
Ross also had a black bag with a glass pipe containing methamphetamine residue and a red, plastic straw containing methamphetamine residue, Hamilton said.
During a search of the vehicle, rangers found a black box containing syringe needles, scissors and a spoon containing methamphetamine residue. Rangers also found LeFors’ purse which contained four credit/debit cards with the name “Garry Gray,” Hamilton said. “(We also) located two checkbooks with Gray’s name on them. (LeFors’) purse contained $658 in cash and several more syringe needles.”
Rangers noticed Ross had blood on his shoes. Ross told officers he had been rabbit hunting to explain the blood on his shoes and the knife. He said they were going down by a river to smoke some meth, according to the report. Hamilton said Ross was cooperative during the arrest, but LeFors fought with rangers, claiming she had defecated herself and needed to use the bathroom.
“Ranger Henderson observed LeFors reach down her underwear in between her buttocks and remove several plastic baggies and clench them in her fist,” Hamilton said. “LeFors began to kick us and head butt us away while clenching her fist. Ranger Seitz was able to peel each finger back until I was able to retrieve the baggies.”
Hamilton said the baggies contained substances that field-tested positive for codeine and methamphetamine. Rangers ran a check for warrants.
“They confirmed LeFors had a warrant out of Arkansas for possession of methamphetamine, but (Arkansas) would not extradite. Also found in the vehicle was a double-barreled shotgun and two rifles.
Ross was then arrested on suspicion of possession of a firearm while committing a felony, possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Lefors was arrested on suspicion of possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia, obstruction of justice, assault on a police officer and possession of a firearm while committing a felony.
Both were taken to the Murray County jail. Hamilton continued to try and get in contact with Gray until Aug. 31. When she could not reach him by that date, she phoned Ada police, who conducted a welfare check at Gray’s apartment in the 2500 block of Oakhurst Drive.
Gray was found lying on the floor of his apartment with labored breathing. Police called for medical help and secured the area as a crime scene. They said most of the trauma was to the back of his head.