‘Check your house’: Threatening texts land man behind bars after girlfriend’s house goes up in flames

Nation and World News

INDIANAPOLIS (WXIN) – Edward Franklin Gray, Jr., 45, is being held on a $200,000 bond, facing two charges of arson in a fire that destroyed a home where a woman lived with her daughter in Indianapolis.

An arson detective said he based his case on voicemail and text messages the victim said she received from Gray.

“He has a very bad violent past and record,” said Gabrielle, who asked that her full name not be revealed. “I’m terrified for my safety and my daughter’s safety.”

Gabrielle provided Nexstar’s WXIN with messages that the detective later listed in his Probable Cause Affidavit. The texts read:

“I’m gonna burn the house down.”

“I’m in the back of your house.”

“It’s up in flames… I am strapped too.”

“Call the police.”

“You should check your house.”

Gabrielle told WXIN that Gray had hit her before when she told him she wanted to end their relationship.

“’I have a daughter,’” Gabrielle said she told Gray. “‘I cannot afford to have you cause any trouble at all in our life. I don’t want you around me. Please stay away from me,’ and it seemed like the more I said that the more violent he got.”

Gray also faces charges of domestic battery and escape because, on the morning of the fire, he was on probation for a previous domestic battery conviction, police said. Gray was wearing an ankle monitor with GPS tracking, and that’s how the detective was able to access data that confirmed Gray was in the woman’s neighborhood when her house was set ablaze.

The detective determined that an ignitable liquid fueled the fire.

“I just need him off the streets because if he can do this to me, he can do anything,” said Gabrielle.

Gray has a bail review hearing on the domestic battery charge this week, though his arson bond and hold for escape from Community Correction will likely take precedent.

Megan Wells, an attorney specializing in cases where domestic violence is a factor, said she tells her clients to document evidence so detectives can build a strong case.

“I ask them to try and keep a journal and write down details of dates and times and specific events because these are the details that will escape their memories later,” said Wells. “Try to keep as much written material as possible. So, emails, text messages, sometimes there are video recordings that people aren’t always 100% aware of. They forget about their Ring doorbells and the different recording devices and security devices that exist around their homes.”

Wells said such recorded and media evidence can be crucial to prosecuting a case since an abuser may want to intimidate his or her victim and send a message.

“If victims and potential victims are not responding verbally, these people will reach out in another way via text message, via social media. There’s often a lot of emotions expressed on social media that can be preserved by screenshots,” she said. “They try to minimize the actions that may have happened, if not completely denying what did happen, so the evidence would be very crucial.”

Wells said it is also important to document police reports and medical records to chart any domestic violence incidents.

If you or anyone you know is experiencing domestic violence, you can call the Julian Center at (317) 920-9320.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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