Macon – A Macon man was sentenced to life in prison Tuesday after he was found guilty of fatally strangling and beating his girlfriend.
Jessie Gray, 52, waived his right to a jury trial and chose to have a Bibb County Superior Court judge hear testimony and review evidence in the case instead. The judge found him guilty, but mentally ill, on a felony murder charge.
Prosecutor Dorothy Hull presented evidence during the one-day trial showing:
On Feb. 15, 2017, a Bibb County deputy was called to the house on Macon’s First Avenue where Gray and 58-year-old Brenda Faulkner lived. Testimony showed Gray and Faulkner, had argued and Faulkner wanted Gray to leave. The deputy gave a verbal warning to the couple and left.
One of Faulkner’s family members testified he was living in the house in February 2017 and had spotted Gray leaving early on the morning of Feb. 16, 2017. Hours later, the family member found Faulkner dead on her bedroom floor.
An autopsy revealed Faulkner suffered blunt force trauma to her head from being beaten by an object and also had been strangled. A medical examiner testified both injuries could have caused her death.
Bibb County deputies found a metal car jack on the bedroom floor with what appeared to be blood and hair on it. A GBI DNA analyst testified Faulkner’s blood was found on the car jack.
Faulkner’s car was later recovered on Robinson Road. A man there told an investigator that a man he knew as “Jessie” had parked the car there and left some clothes at the house. Deputies sent the clothing to the GBI for analysis. Blood on the clothing matched Faulkner’s DNA.
A witness testified that Faulkner had told him and Gray in the days leading up to her death that she planned to turn the First Avenue home into a boarding house. She wanted to move to another home and to end her relationship with Gray.
Speaking after the trial, District Attorney David Cooke said, “Knowing Ms. Faulkner was about to leave, Mr. Gray killed her instead of allowing her to live her life as a free woman. This verdict ensures Mr. Gray won’t hurt another woman for the rest of his life.”
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Contact: Amy Leigh Womack