Barbara Thomas, sister of murder victim Sandra Gray, reacts Wednesday afternoon moments after a jury found Archie Quinn guilty in Gray’s 2008 death. Quinn was found guilty of capital murder and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Photo by: Zach Odom/Dispatch Staff
July 31, 2014 9:55:15 AM
STARKVILLE -- An Oktibbeha County man was found guilty of capital murder Wednesday.
Archie Quinn, 53, of Sturgis, was convicted of the 2008 murder of his ex-girlfriend, 35-year-old Stacy Gray. The jury took less than 45 minutes to return the verdict.
Quinn's lawyers had asked jurors to find Quinn guilty of manslaughter rather than capital murder.
Judge Lee Howard sentenced Quinn to life in prison without the possibility of parole. He was remanded into the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections.
As he had throughout the trial, Quinn ignored Howard and his lawyers and stood staring at the floor during his sentencing.
Quinn shot Gray in 2008 after breaking into the Starkville home she shared with her boyfriend, Terry Johnson. Quinn shot and wounded Johnson before Johnson managed to escape the residence through a window.
Gray was unable to flee the home and took cover in the master bathroom shower. While she was cowered in the shower, Quinn shot her in the forehead with a shotgun. He also shot her in left side of her face with a 9 mm handgun as well as shooting her in the abdomen and in the hand.
Before she was fatally wounded, Gray called 911 from her cellphone. She did not speak with dispatchers but the call stayed connected as Quinn was shooting her.
A recording of the call was played for jurors.
On the tape, Quinn can be heard screaming at Gray, "You're going to die m----------r. (Gunshot) Who's f-----g who? You f-----d me. Now who's f------g who, b----? (Gunshot) You ready to die? You gone die, g------n it. (gunshot)"
Gray can be heard moaning on the tape against the background of gunshots.
The tape was played again for jurors Wednesday. The jury, made up of 11 females and three males, sat motionless as the tape was being played with many jurors closing their eyes throughout.
After the verdict was read, Johnson said he was "relieved."
Gray's sister, Dorothy Gray, said after nearly six years, her family could finally begin to heal.
"After all these years, it's like the pressure is off," she said. "Justice has finally been served."
In the years since her sister's death, Dorothy Gray said her family has suffered physically, emotionally and mentally. Stacy Gray was the youngest of nine children. With her death, the family said they are no longer complete.
"It was like we were a chain, we were tightly bound together, but now we're missing a link, the rest of the chain is broken" said Barbara Thomas, Stacy's Gray's other sister.
Gray, who was valedictorian of her high school class, will be remembered for her loyalty to her friends and her infectious laughter, her sisters said.
As for Quinn, the family said they have forgiven him.
"We don't hate him. We don't dislike him. We just want to be able to move on," Dorothy Gray said.
Sarah Fowler covered crime, education and community related events for The Dispatch.
1. MSMS teacher wins national award for math, science teachers COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
2. Bud and Burgers event canceled COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
3. Dudy Noble video board to serve as first step in renovation STARKVILLE & OKTIBBEHA COUNTY
4. MUW planning new culinary arts building COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
5. County parks study complete COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY