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As his own attorney, former Salem planning board member gets on judge's nerves

Union Leader Correspondent

November 14. 2013 7:59PM
Jeffrey Gray, 51, an Ex-Salem planning board member, appeared Thursday in Rockingham County Superior Court to upend his conviction of aggravated felonious sexual assault. (JAMES A. KIMBLE)

BRENTWOOD — Ex-Salem Planning Board member Jeffrey Gray was told by an exasperated judge on Thursday that he should reconsider his slow approach to seeking a new trial to upend his sexual assault conviction.

Gray, who is representing himself, spent Thursday questioning the lead detective who investigated him for sexually assaulting a 34-year-old woman he met in March 2011 through Craiglist.

A jury convicted Gray on a single count of aggravated felonious sexual assault last June but cleared him of seven other charges including kidnapping. He is serving a 7- to 14-year state prison sentence.

Gray is contesting his conviction after prosecutors acknowledged that a DNA sample was taken from the victim, but authorities apparently lost track of it prior to the trial. A police sergeant testified at Gray's trial that no rape kit was collected.

Assistant County Attorney Terri Harrington said on Thursday that the state is not contesting that investigators lost track of a DNA report, but that it was simply a mistake that would have no impact on the jury's verdict.

Gray questioned Bliss about handling the kit and who else participated in the investigation.

Judge Marguerite Wageling repeatedly urged Gray to pick up the pace and again encouraged him to reconsider using a court-appointed lawyer instead of going it alone.

"My advice is and continues to be that an attorney represents your interests," Wageling told him in court Thursday. "I will not wait a year to have your case heard. At the pace you are going it's going to take a year. You really need to get to the point."

Wageling decided to continue the hearing at a later date.

Windham police Chief Gerard Lewis and public defender Anthony Naro, who represented Gray at his trial last year, are among the witnesses expected to be called at the next hearing.

Gray has suggested that the police officer who testified in his case about the DNA sample provided false testimony that marred his chance at a fair trial.

Court papers say the recently discovered lab report shows that DNA samples collected from the victim do not point to a third party, as Gray suggests.

A copy of the laboratory report says the only DNA found on the woman belonged to Gray "to a reasonable degree of scientific certainty and excluding an identical twin."

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