Marvin Gray was convicted of the 1975
murder of Joseph Didier in Denver on June 5, 2001. Gray, 46 at the time
of his conviction, shot Didier during a robbery after the victim had
left his bank job. While only Gray's second murder conviction, he is now
serving three life sentences. The unremorseful killer has confessed to
over forty killings and police claim polygraph tests have tentatively
confimed his likely involvement in over twenty.
Until the true scope of Gray's crimes are
known, there is little doubt he will attempt to stay in the public eye
with his various antics and outbursts. During the Didier trial Gray was
forced to represent himself after repeated threats against his own
lawyers. He has been forcefully removed from the courtroom for unruly
behavior and threatening to hurt others in the court, a frightening
thought considering Gray is so physically strong that he has to be
restrained with leg irons. On his wrists.
Gray is fond of the occasional interview,
using them to boost his killer image. He has claimed to be a
"natural born murderer", and says that "all I think about
is killing people". He has also stated his desire to be put to
death, forcing authorities to fear he may kill again in prison in order
to achive that goal.
The guards knew better than to turn their backs on
Marvin Gray, but they did it anyway
By Karen Bowers - WestWord.com
Thursday, Nov 16 2000
Under ordinary circumstances, what happened October
30 inside holding cell No. 4 at the Denver County Courthouse would have
been just that -- ordinary. One inmate has words with another, a scuffle
ensues, blood is spilled, a deputy intercedes, the fight's over. What
sets this particular fracas apart is that it involved Marvin Gray, and
Gray is far from ordinary: The last time somebody put him in a cell with
another inmate, it cost the state $70,000.
At 6' 11" and 275 pounds, Gray is a lumbering hulk of
trouble. Colored from head to foot in tattoos, this onetime Department
of Corrections state weightlifting champ revels in his ability to beat,
bully, conquer and rape anyone who comes across his path. "What I've
done would make a grown man sit straight up in bed at night and break
out in a cold sweat," he once boasted.
Gray's already spent about half his life behind bars.
He's done time for robbery and assault, and in 1985 he was convicted of
second-degree murder in the stabbing death of a woman found along the
banks of Cherry Creek. In 1987, while he was doing time for murder, Gray
was charged with his first prison rape. Paroled on the murder charge in
1991, he skipped town. The following year he was arrested for armed
robbery. The conviction in that case was enough to have him declared a
habitual offender, which means life in prison. In Gray's case, the judge
gave him three life sentences.
Some guys can't make it on the outside. Gray is one
Some guys can't make it on the inside. Gray is one of
In November 1992, Gray was
charged with killing a fellow inmate. He was in a holding cell at the
federal courthouse in Denver when he recognized the man, whom Gray
believed to be an informant in a drug case. Gray, however, was acquitted.
Denver police lieutenant Jon Priest says it's his understanding that a
jury believed the guards shared culpability simply for placing Gray in a
cell with the informant.
Despite Gray's record, state prison officials
apparently didn't see anything wrong with double-bunking him with other
inmates, and in July 1993, Gray beat, knocked unconscious and raped his
27-year-old cellmate. Less than a week later, Gray was assigned yet
another roomie, whom he choked into near-unconsciousness, then sexually
assaulted, too. Gray was then sent to the Colorado State Penitentiary,
where he was locked down for 23 hours a day.
But one of Gray's rape victims struck back in October
1993, filing suit against five prison officials, claiming they'd put his
life in danger by placing him in a cell with a known sexual offender.
The case slogged through the courts until this past spring, when the
state agreed to pay the victim $70,000. Although the state didn't admit
liability, the payment was based on claims that DOC officials showed
callous indifference when they placed the victim in a cell with Gray
("In the Hole," June 15).
Gray was subsequently
classified as "ad-seg" (or "administrative segregation"), meaning he
should never be placed in a cell with anyone else. When such prisoners
are moved, they are supposed to be in leg shackles, handcuffs and belly
chains. When they are transported, they ride in vans with an armed "chase
team" following behind. And their transport files are supposed to
contain in-depth information so that the receiving institution knows how
to handle them, says Alsion Morgan, director of public affairs for the
But when Gray went to
Denver for a sentence reconsideration hearing October 30, the DOC didn't
bring him up from Caņon City. For some reason, the job fell to the
Denver Sheriff's Department, Morgan says. "Maybe it had to do with how
fast [the Denver court] needed him. Maybe they picked him up because
they had to get someone else, too."
Transport files are not required in such instances,
nor was one provided to the sheriff's deputies who picked up Gray,
But deputies did
know to be careful with Gray, confirms sheriff's spokesman Sergeant
Darryle Brown. Gray was brought to Denver and placed in the county jail
in a solitary cell. All precautions were taken while he remained in that
facility. But when Gray was moved from the jail to the courthouse, "I
think that's where the mixup occurred as to where he was housed," Brown
says. "He went over there, and somehow the wires got crossed."
Gray was put in a cell with
a man named James Gilbertson, who is awaiting trial in a case involving
sexual assault on a child. According to deputies, Gray "started beating
[Gilbertson] by throwing him to the ground and then punched him numerous
times before the suspect was ordered off the victim." Gilbertson, an
incident report said, suffered a bloody nose and a cut under his right
eye "which will require stitches." Gray was charged with third-degree
assault. He's asked for a jury trial.
Attorney David Lane, who
represented one of Gray's rape victims in the suit against the state,
thinks Gilbertson should sue. "Marvin Gray seems to be a raping, killing
machine," Lane says. "Everybody in the world is on notice that Marvin
Gray should not be housed with anyone else."
Sheriff's officials wouldn't comment on the incident,
they said, because it is "still under investigation." But whether Gray
will get his day in court is questionable. At a November 6 hearing on
the assault, sheriff's deputies asked that Gray remain in a holding cell
rather than being brought to the courtroom. "The last time he was up
here, he smashed another person's head against the wall," the deputy
explained. A plea of "not guilty" was entered on Gray's behalf.
Whatever happens, deputies
will now have Gray as their guest for a while: Last week he copped to an
unsolved 1975 murder of a man in Denver. Joseph Didier was shot in his
car in the fall of 1975 after an apparent robbery on Larimer Street. The
confession means Gray will remain here -- in lockdown -- until
prosecutors decide whether to file charges.
Lane thinks that by admitting to another murder, Gray
is looking for a way out. The hard way out. "I think he wants to get a
death penalty," he says. "I do believe that's what he's looking for."