American serial killer Dana Sue Gray was born on December 6, 1957. She murdered three elderly women in 1994 and was caught after her fourth victim survived and identified her. Gray said her financial status played a big part in why she committed the murders of three innocent old women. She is currently serving her sentence behind bars at the California Women’s Prison in Chowchilla.
Dana Sue’s parents divorced when she was 2. After that, her father disappeared from her life, and rarely saw him. Dana would act out to gain attention. Her mother, Beverly, would often discipline Dana whenever she misbehaved, causing the young girl to lash out in fits of violence and would sometimes retaliate by stealing money to buy candy. Dana didn’t get along well with other students in school and wasn’t doing well in her classes. She was suspended numerous times for forging notes to get out of classes.
Gray’s mother developed breast cancer when Gray was 14 years old, and the nurses that had been taking care of her mother inspired her to become a nurse. Tragically, Dana had to move in with her father after her mother passed away, but she was forced to leave once her stepmother found drugs in the bedroom. Sometime later, Dana became heavily involved with a skydiving instructor. She became pregnant with his child twice, and he convinced her to terminate both pregnancies which she resented.
Dana fell into depression and psychotropic medications after suffering several miscarriages. She lost her nursing job after being caught stealing drugs.
Norma Davis (found dead on February 16, 1994)
Norma Davis, 86 years old, is believed to be Gray’s first victim. However, it was never certain that Gray had killed her as there was no evidence. Norma was the mother-in-law of the woman who married Gray’s father.
On February 16, 1994, Norma Davis was found dead with a large utility knife in her neck and a fillet knife in her chest by her neighbor. She had no other marks at all other than having a broken fingernail. There was no sign of forced entry into the house.
June Roberts (February 28, 1994)
On February 28, 1994, June Roberts was killed by Dana Sue Gray when she visited Roberts’ home under the guise of needing a book on alcoholism. After killing Roberts, Gray emptied her purse and stole two credit cards. An hour after strangling 66-year old Roberts to death using a telephone cord—which she found in Roberts’ home – Gray used two stolen credit cards on a pricey shopping spree at an upscale shopping center in Temecula.
Dora Beebe (March 16, 1994)
On March 16, 1994, Dana Sue Gray killed 87-year-old Dora Beebe. Beebe had arrived home a few moments earlier from a doctor’s appointment when Gray pulled up to her house asking for directions. When invited inside to look at a map, Gray attacked and killed Beebe. Beebe was later found by her long-time boyfriend Louis Dormand. Gray used Beeb’s credit card to go on a shopping spree an hour later.
Dorinda Hawkins (survived the assault)
Dana Sue Gray attacked Hawkins on March 10, 1994, at her job selling antiques. The victim was alone in the shop that day. Gray came in to buy a picture frame for a photo of her deceased mother. As Hawkins walked her over to the display case where some suitable frames could be seen, Gray grabbed a telephone cord which she then used to strangle the victim and then proceeded to raid the cash register of $20 and Hawkins’ purse for $5. Dana went on another shopping spree using Roberts’ credit card an hour later. Fortunately, Hawkins survived the assault and gave detectives a description of Gray. The next day, the story was in the newspaper.
Arrest and Trial
Thanks to a description collected from various merchants in the Temecula, California area, the suspected killer of June Roberts was identified as Dana Gray. Spending had become so bad and out of hand that the credit card company notified June’s family’s after she went on a shopping spree using Robert’s credit cards. Detectives then arrived at all stores where Gray was known to have used June’s credit cards and interviewed cashiers who gave them a physical description of the killer who had died her hair recently and had a little boy named Jason. Dana was finally arrested on 17 March 1994 while cooking dinner for her family.
The Deputy District Attorney requested the death penalty at a hearing on July 23. Dana Sue Gray pleaded insanity to all of her charges but changed her plea to guilty of robbing and murdering two women and attempting to murder another on September 9, 1998. This was after a witness claimed to have seen Gray at Roberts’ house during the day of her death. She was sentenced to life without parole and incarcerated in the California Women’s Prison in Chowchilla.