Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Addicted to Luxury: The Pampered Killer

Crazy Over Cash

An arraignment was scheduled for March 21, but was then postponed.  At this time, there was still no charge for the murder of Norma Davis, although the investigation continued with the hope of getting a DNA match from the knives.  They did have a match from one of Gray's Nike shoes to the footprint found in Davis's house, and Gray had said she'd not been in the house in two years.  This kind of evidence was general at best, since nothing about the shoe or the print was clearly individuated.

Gray's public defender, Stuart Sachs, claimed he needed time to prepare the case and his request was granted.  Gray, wearing a sky-blue prison jumpsuit, quietly agreed to the delay, although she later complained about him as an attorney.  She seemed intimidated that day by the number of reporters gathered to see her in the courtroom.

As local journalists waited for the arraignment, they looked for other stories to pen, and one of these involved the disposition of one victim's cat.  Dora Beebe had a seven-year-old gray tiger cat named Weezie, and now Dora's daughter faced the need to place the animal with someone.  She was hoping for a shut-in who needed a companion. (There was no follow-up story.)

An acquaintance of Gray's, Dave Dressecker, spoke with reporters.  He had known Gray as an RN, recalling how dedicated she had been, and had done some real estate transactions with her.  He could not imagine her as the person who had allegedly assaulted one woman and murdered three.  "She was," he said, "a very nice girl."  Still, he said that when he'd first heard the description of the murderer, he had joked with friends about how it had fit Dana.  He also offered her letters to reporters, which showed how much she whined about her situation.  She did not like prison at all and seemed to believe that she would soon be free.  Apparently she harangued her father to sell Norma's condo and use the funds for a better attorney.

Other acquaintances said Gray had often had a hard look about her, but they had attributed it to the stressful life of a surgical nurse.  A few said that she'd been a good neighbor, but when her life had started to erode, she'd become cranky and withdrawn.

Dana Gray in custody
Dana Gray in custody

When asked about the case, Gray's boyfriend, a machinist, said he had no words: "People ask me to explain it and I can't."  He only knew that Gray was good to his five-year-old son.  Still, he declined to visit Gray in jail and had been angry over being pulled into the investigation.  He eventually broke up with her.

There was also an estranged half-brother who told reporters his own theory about Gray's motive.  His name was Cedric Ward, according to the newspapers, and on March 22, he' held an impromptu press conference outside the courtroom.  It was his belief that Gray suffered from exposure to a dysfunctional wealthy family from Newport Beach.  There was a lot of depression in the home, he said, and a lot of fighting.  "It was not happy growing up."  Ward, thirteen years older than the defendant, said he had raised her after her mother died from cancer, and had noticed her issues with money from an early age.  She had a habit of asking others to give her money, as well as of stealing it when it suited her.  Nevertheless, Ward claimed to be stunned over the reports that she had attacked and murdered elderly women.

Another story traced the path that Gray had taken once she had June Roberts' credit cards.  On the same day as the murder, she had gone out for lunch, had her hair permed at Ethetiques Salon, and purchased clothing and jewelry to the tune of $695.  Those who encountered her or provided a service described her as cheerful and happy.  That behavior supported the idea that she was a cold-hearted killer.  She had her boyfriend's son with her and said to several people that she expected to go on a shopping spree that day.  By the end of the day she had charged $1,700 on two cards.  She would later admit to the shocking revelation that she had the boy with her, leaving him in the car, when she murdered June Roberts.

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