Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Dad charged with capital murder in death of 1-year-old daughter (Jackson, Mississippi)

Dad is identified as NATYYO GRAY. Sounds like it could be one of those cases where Daddy just didn't want to pay child support....


Infant's injuries extensive
Case against former officer goes to grand jury

10:58 PM, Dec. 5, 2011

An infant whose father is charged with capital murder in her death was in good health as recently as September, a detective testified Monday at a hearing in which police laid out their case.

But about two months later, 1-year-old Aubrey Zoe Brown, allegedly was fatally injured while being abused by her father, Natyyo Gray, 36, a former Jackson Police Department detective.

"It wasn't until the child was in his sole custody for that brief period when the child was hurt?" Assistant District Attorney Scott Rogillio asked Detective Eric Smith. "And hurt is a very loose term, wouldn't you agree?"

"Very loose," said Smith, the sole witness during Gray's packed preliminary hearing before Hinds County Judge Houston Patton.

Zoe sustained bruises to her forehead, back and pelvis, extensive abdominal bruising, and a large hematoma on the top of her head. She also had a lacerated liver and pancreas. Rogillio told the court she was bleeding from her anus as a result of trauma to her intestines. The cause of death was internal injuries.

Gray's attorney, Aafram Sellers, said his client maintains he is innocent. Sellers asked Smith about intent.

"I have no proof he actually intended to hurt the child," Smith replied.

Smith detailed the events of Nov. 20, when Zoe's mother, Phyllis Brown, left the child with Gray while she was at church. After church, she stopped at a department store and was there when she got a call from Gray that something was wrong with Zoe and she needed to come to the hospital.

Smith testified Gray had called the ambulance to the home he shared with Brown, and when emergency officials arrived, he was performing compressions on her abdomen.

Gray is certified in CPR and should have known how to do the compressions correctly, Smith testified.

Smith said Gray told him in questioning that he thought the child was constipated and was trying to massage her stomach. Smith testified that doctors and pathologists told him there was no possible way the child's injuries were caused by a belly massage or CPR.

Sellers said Gray would not have been able to be a police officer and to work his way through the ranks if he had a criminal history. He pointed out that Gray had called the ambulance and had tried to perform lifesaving procedures on the child when he found she was unresponsive.

Sellers told Patton he feared parents would become afraid of taking their children to the hospital with accidental injuries because they could end up being prosecuted.

"There has to be something more than just injuries," Sellers said.

"If a child is bleeding out of its anus from internal injuries, I would expect that this DA's office will prosecute," Rogillio countered.

The courtroom was filled with members of both Gray's family, some of whom had traveled in from Chicago, and Brown's family, who all wore badges that said, "Justice for Zoe."

Gray sat on the edge of his seat throughout the proceeding.

Brown, a biology teacher, mostly kept her head down and left without comment when the hearing was over. Family members had consoled her throughout the hearing.

Alice Jones, Gray's aunt from Chicago, said authorities should be looking at the mother's side of the family for the blame, and that the testimony presented by Smith was false.

"Baloney," she said. "It's not true. I practically raised him. That is not him they're talking about."

Brown's family members would not comment beyond saying they are still shocked and saddened by the situation.

Court papers show Brown had gone to court earlier this year to get financial support from Gray for Zoe, who was born in September 2010.

Gray had denied fathering the child and had said he wanted nothing to do with her, according to records from the court proceedings.

However, at some point after Brown had been awarded custody and child support, she and Gray began living at the same Monroe Street address. One of Brown's family members has said she lived there on weekends but she and Zoe spent weekdays in Meridian, where Brown worked.

What type of relationship the two had at the time of the child's death has not been publicly explained.
Patton referred Gray's case to a grand jury, and granted no bond, which is typical for a capital murder charge.

Sellers said his team is still gathering information.

"Mr. Gray denies these charges and we believe him in his denial, but we don't have any physical evidence to look at, just what the detective testified to," he said after the preliminary hearing.