In a rare move, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals (which handles cases from North and South Carolina, as well as Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia) granted relief to death row inmate Dr. William Gray[FN] earlier this week. The Court said that Gray, who was sentenced to die for the 1992 murder of his wife in Lenoir County, should receive a new sentencing hearing because his lawyers failed to investigate and present considerable evidence that Gray was severely mentally ill.
Dr. Gray had been exhibiting bizarre behavior for months before he shot his wife. After he was arrested, he was kept in the state mental hospital for five weeks. Once Dr. Gray returned to the jail, he had to be kept in the juvenile cell block for his own safety. Everyone around him in the months before and after the murder noticed that Gray had made a precipitous decline into mental illness, but his attorneys – neither of whom had tried a capital case before - presented no such evidence to the jury. Now William Gray has a second chance.