EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

November 14, 2013

Gray requests new trial

Former Salem official seeks his freedom from prison

By Doug Ireland

---- — BRENTWOOD — Former Salem Planning Board member Jeffrey Gray is so confident he was wrongly convicted of rape, he asked for a new trial yesterday.

Gray also is confident authorities botched their investigation and that DNA evidence will lead to his acquittal in the rape of a 36-year-old New York woman in March 2011. He is serving a seven- to 14-year sentence in New Hampshire State Prison.

Gray, 51, appeared before Judge Marguerite Wageling in Rockingham Superior Court to request another trial to prove his innocence.

The former Windham civil engineer is serving as his own lawyer, filing numerous handwritten motions with the court while incarcerated and subpoenaing witnesses.

Gray claims a state forensic laboratory report will confirm he didn’t receive a fair trial. He says there is no conclusive way to prove he raped the victim.

Gray, who allowed the woman to stay at his home because she need a place to live, claims the sex was consensual.

Gray has accused the prosecution of lying as well as Windham police Sgt. Bryan Bliss, who testified during Gray’s trial in July 2012 that a rape kit test was never administered.

It was inaccurate testimony, Gray claims, that led to his conviction for aggravated felonious sexual assault.

Deputy County Attorney Thomas Reid later acknowledged in court documents, filed last month, that a test had been conducted, but his office was not notified.

Assistant County Attorney Terri Harrington represented the prosecution yesterday in place of Reid, who was suspended with County Attorney James Ream amid an FBI investigation of the county attorney’s office.

Windham police Chief Gerald Lewis has admitted the county attorney’s office did not receive the lab report because it had been misfiled at the police station. That prompted some investigators, including Bliss, to believe a rape kit test was given.

“Do you recall testifying there was no DNA test?” Gray asked.

“Yes,” Bliss said.

The sergeant later said he remembered bringing the test kit to the state lab in Concord.

Bliss was the first — and only witness — to be called to the stand yesterday by Gray before Wageling decided to continue the hearing until after Jan. 1 because it was taking too long, according to interim County Attorney James Boffetti.

The hearing began about 11:15 a.m. and lasted much of the afternoon.

Wageling warned Gray several times that he was taking too much time when questioning Bliss. Gray shuffled through paperwork while handcuffed.

“My advice continues to be that you have an attorney,” Wageling said. “We have been in the hearing for a while and haven’t accomplished much.”

Gray is serving as his own lawyer because he claims his two public defenders, Anthony Naro and Julia Nye, did a poor job of representing him. He has subpoenaed Naro as a witness.

During the trial, the victim testified that Gray forced her to have sex. She also told jurors Gray liked to wear a diaper and pretend to be a baby before raping her and urinating on her. Gray also demanded that she pretend to be his mother, the woman testified.