FULL TEXT (Article 1 of 3): Rockville, Md. - Police charged a woman yesterday with killing her first husband in 1974 and her second husband in November. Police said Josephine Gray, 44, and her housemate, Clarence Goode, 23, killed William Robert Gray, 48, Nov. 9 at his Germantown home. He had been shot in the chest and neck with a pistol, Geehreng said. Police also charged Josephine Gray with the murder of Norman Stribbling, who was found in his car March 4, 1974. He had been shot once in the head. Josephine Gray, then Josephine Stribbling, and William Robert Gray, the man who would become her second husband, were arrested shortly after that incident and charged with conspiracy to commit murder. Charges were dropped when witnesses failed to appear, police said.
[“Police Say Woman Killed Two Husbands,” syndicated (AP), Seattle Times (Wa.), Apr. 26, 1991]
FULL TEXT (Article 2 of 3): Washington, D.C. – In this tale of witchcraft and murder, prosecutors have been thwarted for decades in investigating violent deaths of husbands in suburbs of the nation’s capital. “I’ve seen all forms of witness intimidation,” said Douglas Gansler, state’s attorney of Montgomery County, Md. “But this is only time it involved voodoo and black magic.”
Gansler said two formal murder warrants were filed yesterday against Josephine Gray, a 55-year-old widow and mother of six who lived in the Maryland suburbs. Gray is already being held on federal charges of mail and wire fraud in connection with the $165,000 that she collected from life insurance policies on two of her husbands and one alleged lover -- all now dead.
The federal cases will proceed first, said Gansler, with the widow being tried under the co-called “slayer’s rule,” which prohibits a beneficiary from receiving the insurance benefits of someone they intentionally killed. Conviction does not require proof of murder, however.
Gray, who has pleaded not guilty, will also be tried for murder, Gansler said. Her attorney has declined public comment.
What she did, law enforcement agents allege, was to woo a lover to kill a husband, marry the lover, and then woo another lover who killed the second husband. Then, the alleged second lover was killed shortly after the effective date of another $100,000 insurance policy that named Gray as the beneficiary.
The evidence pointed to the widow from the start, but witnesses would not testify, the prosecutor recalled.
“It was the witchcraft mostly,” Lenron Goode, brother of the third victim, told the Washington Post.
Relatives believe that Gray cast spells to convert her lovers into killers willing to do her bidding.
“She was dealing in witchcraft and voodoo,” a former wife of one told the Post. “She must have been feeding him something to make him do what she said. He wasn’t himself.”
The first husband, Norman Stribbling, was found shot in the head in his parked car beside a suburban road in 1974. Police said that two brothers, Donald and Clement Mills, gave statements that they were individually approached by Josephine and a man named William Gray and offered money to kill Norman Stribbling. The widow and Gray were subsequently charged with conspiracy to commit murder but the charges were dropped after the witnesses disappeared. Josephine and William Gray were later married.
In the mid-1980s, a young man named Clarence Goode moved in with the Grays. He was described as Josephine Gray’s cousin, according to the police report. In 1990, William Gray moved out of the house. Later that year, he was found face down and dead on the floor of his apartment. He had been shot in the chest and neck.
The following year, Josephine Gray and Clarence Goode were charged with the murder. The case never reached trial though because witnesses changed their stories and evidence was lacking.
In 1996, Clarence Goode was found dead from a gunshot wound in his car on a Baltimore street.
Gansler said Josephine Gray is being charged with killing her two husbands in Montgomery County, Md., but the murder of Goode occurred outside his jurisdiction. All three killings will be linked in the federal insurance case, he said.
[Bob Dart, “A trail of bodies in grisly tale of voodoo killings. Woman used black magic to intimidate witnesses, police say,” (Cox News Service) Seattle Times (Wa.), January 4, 2002]
FULL TEXT (Article 3 of 3): Greenbelt, Md. – A woman dubbed the “Black Widow” by prosecutors was sentenced Monday to 40 years in prison for collecting life insurance proceeds on three slain lovers after allegedly using voodoo to keep witnesses silent. Josephine Gray, ob, received the maximum sentence from U.S. District Judge Deborah Chasanow for the eight counts of mail and wire fraud she was convicted of in August. Gray was also ordered to repay $170,000 to the insurance companies she defrauded.
The Upper Marlboro woman now faces a possible murder trial in Montgomery County on charges filed against her in January. Gray escaped two previous attempts to prosecute her when witnesses refused to testify. Although Gray wasn’t tried on murder charges in federal court.
Judge Chasanow ruled that the killings were part of Gray’s scheme to cheat insurance companies.
That factor increased the maximum penalty from roughly two years – a penalty Judge Chasanow said was “woefully inadequate” – to 10 years.
“Clearly, in this case the murders were done in connection with these offenses,” Judge Chasanow said.
Gray, who sat slumped between her lawyers, showed no emotion as the verdict was read. She gave a statement through her public defender. Daniel Stiller, maintaining her innocence.
“(She) gives her faith in God as a higher power who knows she has committed no offense or done anything wrong.” Mr. Stiller said. Gray will appeal the verdict. Mr. Stiller said.
Prosecutors said Gray, the matriarch of a large Germantown family held sway over her relatives through threats of violence and voodoo magic.
Her two husbands were shot to death; Norman Stribbling was murdered in 1971 and William Gray was killed in 1990. Gray collected $15.000 from Mr. Stnbbling’s death and $51,000 for William Gray.
Clarence Goode, her in-live boyfriend, was shot and stuffed in the trunk of a car in Baltimore in 1996. That killing netted Cray $95,000.
Montgomery prosecutors said she enlisted the help of her successive paramours lo kill her current lovers, dubbing her the “Black Widow,” after the female version of the venomous spider that kills its mates.
[“Black Widow - Murderer gets 40 years,” syndicated (AP), The Frederick News-Post (Md.), Dec. 3, 2002, p. A-6]
For more cases of this type, see: Occult Female Serial Killers
For links to other cases of woman who murdered 2 or more husbands (or paramours), see Black Widow Serial Killers.
For more cases of this type, see: Occult Female Serial Killers
More cases, see: Female Serial Killers of Africa & the African Diaspora