HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Some five dozen files line a small room inside Huntsville Police Department, mostly unsolved homicide cases. One in particular involves a prominent business man, devoted father and worker in his church. He owned his own business, the same place where he lost his life.
To tell the story of Herbert Gray, you need to know his background, who he was, a look into his past. Gray was an active member at Lakeside United Methodist Church in Huntsville. He chaired fundraisers, was a member of the choir, a certified lay speaker and served on the Board of Trustees of Alabama A&M University. Gray was also a businessman and owner of Graytronix Corp.
The morning of July 23, 2010 a frantic call came into 911 from one of Gray’s employees saying she found her bosses body slumped over in his chair. Herbert Gray, 60-years-old, had been murdered inside that same business he owned on Lowry Street.
Huntsville police rushed to the address. Photographs from the scene nine years ago shows a blue metal building, crime scene tape draped around the property, and police cars blocking the entrance. Crime scene investigators painstakingly processing the scene taking photos and dusting for fingerprints.
That same building where Gray was found murdered now sits on the fringe of Huntsville’s entertainment district. The landscape of what once was a crime scene has changed through the years. The building sits abandoned, the once blue exterior now painted a muted tan color.
What happened inside, behind those glass doors almost a decade ago, is still very much a mystery today. Investigator Chris Hines, who’s assigned to the cold case unit, wasn’t in major crimes when Gray was killed. He’s now though the one heading up the investigation. He’s spent a lot of time studying the evidence and case notes.
Hines says there’s been a lot of interest and some information in the case but so far “nothing’s come up to lead us to an arrest in this case."
No arrests. No new evidence but plenty of unanswered questions. Who killed Herbert Gray? Why was his car found abandoned in an ally way blocks from this business? What was the motive behind the murder?
Hines says cracking tough cases like this one takes old-fashioned police know how and help from the public, the right person with the right information.
“Just through experience somebody that was familiar with Herbert Gray. To be a good investigator you can’t just get stuck on that. You have to look at the whole realm of possibilities,” said Hines.
That one clue that can close a case and bring just to the victim of a homicide. Kim Crawford, director of the Homicide Survivors Program, works closely with families who have lost loved ones to violent deaths. Crawford says it’s heartbreaking for loved ones left behind, like Gray’s family, who can only visit their loved one buried in a cemetery.
“Time stops for them. They’ve lost something they’ll never get back,” said Crawford.
Crawford says it makes things even more difficult when their loved one’s case is unresolved. She says Herbert Gray’s family deserves closure.
“Not being able to have that sense of peace that sense of closure for a family is very difficult. There are no words to describe the emotional toll,” said Crawford.
Investigators say they want justice for every homicide case they are assigned to work but it can be especially difficult when a trail runs cold. In the case of Gray, a well-known businessman in the Huntsville community, his murder is still unresolved. Investigator Hines says he feels confident somebody out there knows something.
“It’s time to come forward. Get it off your chest. It don’t go away. It’s going to be in the back of your mind. It’s going to tug at your heart for the rest of your life,” said Hines.
If you have any information on this crime call Crime Stoppers at 256-53-CRIME. You’ll remain anonymous and you could earn a reward.
We reached out to people in Herbert Gray’s life. They are hopeful this case will be solved and justice will be served.