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Ex-wife says she tried to warn others of former spouse's violent history

Monday, Nov. 12, 2012 8:40 PM
Last updated Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012 10:06 AM
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For more than two decades, Lori Jo Cole has been reaching out to the women in her ex-husband’s life in an effort to warn them about his abusive history. She had not been able to get in touch with his last fiancee when she learned he had killed her and turned the gun on himself.



Cole was shaken.

“I prayed this would never happen,” she said. “I’ll always be sorry an innocent life was taken.”

The Connecticut resident was Daniel Robert Gray’s second wife when they lived in Maine in the late 1980s and early ’90s, she said. Cole described constant abuse and threats from Gray, including his putting a gun to their daughter’s head as a way of threatening Cole.

During their relationship, Gray's first wife contacted her and warned her he was abusive. After their relationship ended, Cole decided to reach out to other women. Gray caught on and stopped telling her when he was in a new relationship, and Cole wondered whether it was healthy to hold a grudge so tightly.

Then Cole read about the death Friday of Gray’s fiancee, Sandra Mae Studer, 42, whom he shot in the head before he turned the gun on himself at his Hephzibah home, according to authorities.

Cole said she regrets not reaching Studer. She said she and her daughter, Jamie, both tried but were unable to reach Studer.

“It was too short a period of time,” she said.

According to their Facebook pages, Gray and Studer became engaged in July.

On Friday, police were called to the 3100 block of Bath Patterson Road and found Studer dead and Gray barely alive. He was taken to Medical College of Georgia Hospital, were he died Saturday afternoon.

Investigators waited for the results of an autopsy Monday to determine whether Gray had died from a self-inflicted wound because there was some confusion about what
happened at the house among some of Studer’s family members, Richmond County sheriff’s Sgt. Jason Vinson said.

Cole said Gray has been married at least six times. Public records show he was divorced in Richmond County in 2008.

In September, SWAT was called to his home, where he had barricaded himself inside with a gun. He was taken into custody and given a mental health evaluation, which was not his first, Cole said.

When she met Gray in April 1987, it was a whirlwind romance that ended up with her pregnant. Then the abuse started, she said. After pressure from her family, the couple was married in September 1988, a month before Jamie was born.

“I knew he was going to kill my child,” she said. “I told every authority he was a time bomb.”

While Gray was at work one day a few months later, Cole left with their daughter. Gray made occasional visits for the next year but was eventually checked into a hospital in 1989 for a mental evaluation, Cole said. He moved to Augusta after that.

Because the couple had a child together, Cole stayed in touch with Gray. When she would find out about a new woman in his life, she would reach out to warn her, as Gray’s first wife had done for her.

“I was always met with disbelief,” she said.

Though she never spoke to Studer, Cole hopes her story will help women get out of relationships before they turn violent.

“Jamie and I will always be upset he took another life,” she said.

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Tullie
2930
Points
Tullie 11/13/12 - 07:17 am
3
0
Poor Woman

To have to live with that and try to help a new woman in her ex-husband's life. I bet it was met with disbelief. The new woman would wonder is she just trying to cause trouble, break us up, is she the crazy one? Wow, by the time they would find out, it could be too late.

Horrible, for everyone involved in this.

cruiser93
270
Points
cruiser93 11/13/12 - 12:05 pm
2
1
The Difference

My opinion...This is the difference between someone with a legitimate mental illness and someone who is a controlling, sociopathical narcissist who CHOSE to be the way that he was.
Thankful that no one else will suffer under his control.

Rob Pavey
552
Points
Rob Pavey 11/13/12 - 12:59 pm
5
0
Reporting the story behind the story.....

It's hard to convey the human side of murder and mental illness in a few paragraphs. Summer did it here, in a compelling way. I hope Lori Jo's story brings courage and clarity to others in abusive situations.

RebelBtch
11
Points
RebelBtch 11/13/12 - 08:36 pm
2
0
Family
Unpublished

There is a lot thats not being said about Dan simply because its all in the past where it needs to be left by all! He is not completely the monster that he is being made out to be!I have known him all my life because he is my cousin! As our grandmother used to often state her first 4 grandchildren have never had an easy go at life from the start...but in any case the idea I am trying to get at from everyone is the past is the past leave it there out of respect of the deceased and the living end of Dans Family please leave it alone we are asking this out of respect of our family those that have to live with this incident in the area and those of us whom are farther away but still have to live with the knowledge of his actions! So again I am asking from our Family to please leave Daniel R.Gray and his past lively hood alone and out of the papers and news all in respect for us to be able to grieve and morn without being judged and bashed this is hard enuff for the family let alone the public!!!
sincerely (Cousin)
Laura C.Moore Bier

RebelBtch
11
Points
RebelBtch 11/13/12 - 08:45 pm
2
1
and to add
Unpublished

and as for Lori you were by far from sweet and innocent in the marriage and goes to show I know alot more and have stayed silent and dealt with things in my own manor wen it came to Dan..but out of respect and unconditional love for my family I wont sit by and watch the judgement bashing and critiscizm and know that his brother and sister have to endure all of that plus the pain of loss as well as myself and our other distant family!

Redneckbtch
10
Points
Redneckbtch 11/13/12 - 11:29 pm
0
0
the family
Unpublished

The family doesnt need to see this crap.... they hav enuff to deal with from ppl bc of wat happened they dont nees Danny's past brought into it... u didnt speak up then but now u bring it up now that he is gone neither of the families nees thia. U dnt hav to deal with the looks whispers an glares from ppl for u making my cousin look like more of a monster he has past let it go ur bth living ur own lives now an rnt anywhere close n wnt hav to deal with ppl talking glaring pointing an whisperjng his brother an sister hav lives down there an hav enuff pain an grief to deal with an Sandys family doesnt need this either soooo STOP DRAGGING his name thru the mud anymore than has already been done.... the families r grieving an there is no need for anyone to add fuel to an already burning fire!!!! Soooo jus stop sandys family has my deepest sympathies an as for my family i love u guys

Redneckbtch
10
Points
Redneckbtch 11/13/12 - 11:31 pm
0
0
the family
Unpublished

The family doesnt need to see this crap.... they hav enuff to deal with from ppl bc of wat happened they dont nees Danny's past brought into it... u didnt speak up then but now u bring it up now that he is gone neither of the families need this. U dnt hav to deal with the looks whispers an glares from ppl for u making my cousin look like more of a monster he has past let it go ur bth living ur own lives now an rnt anywhere close n wnt hav to deal with ppl talking glaring pointing an whisperjng his brother an sister hav lives down there an hav enuff pain an grief to deal with an Sandys family doesnt need this either soooo STOP DRAGGING his name thru the mud anymore than has already been done.... as my.mom stated above the families r grieving an there is no need for anyone to add fuel to an already burning fire!!!! Soooo jus stop sandys family has my deepest sympathies an as for my family i love u guys

crawford1994
11
Points
crawford1994 11/14/12 - 12:46 am
3
1
I wish to thank Lori for

I wish to thank Lori for coming out with this story, as Sandy was my aunt, her kids really appreciated it, We morned the loss of Sandy today as she was laid to rest, What Danny did or why he did it doesnt really matter, not only did he take away a mother he took away a sister, grandmother,and an aunt, and just to let everyone know Sandys family does not hold hard feelings towards the rest of his family as we know what it feels like to lose a loved one. The only thing we are glad for is we know now it wont happen to anyone else.

RebelBtch
11
Points
RebelBtch 11/14/12 - 02:25 am
0
0
I would like to express my
Unpublished

I would like to express my deepest sympathy for Sandy's family in this tragedy. Its not anything I would want anyone else to endure but I am just trying to express that our family is asking for respect and keeping the past history off the news and out of the news papers ...we are asking that everyone lets the families on both sides morn and grieve in peace.The world today is cruel and harsh and Dannys family does not need to be frowned upon or singled out because of Dannys actions in this or any previous matters as most of us know can and will happen. Danny recently seeked help and was only to a certain extent and not enough. There are two sides to everything and sometimes families have troubled times more than others ,some chose to find an explanation for the wrongs and some are more private and would like to keep things among themselves because it does not matter anymore there wont be a next time.Regardless of the circumstances both families have unconditional love for the lost loved ones!

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