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Suspect in double killing has mental health problems

Tuesday, December 3, 2002

By

NEW FAIRFIELD, Conn. - The 20-year-old suspect in the bludgeoning deaths of a New Fairfield couple on Thanksgiving was hospitalized last summer after not taking medication for mental health problems, The News-Times of Danbury and The Hartford Courant reported Tuesday.

Alexander Gray of Louisville, Ky., was admitted to the hospital to be treated for bipolar disorder at the request of his father, The News-Times reported, citing sources it did not identify.

Gray took a spur-of-the-moment trip to be with his uncle and aunt in New Fairfield on Thanksgiving. His relatives' house was less than a mile away from the home of the slain couple, Ronald Ahrlich, 66, and his wife Roberta, 61.

Relatives who went to the Ahrliches' house to celebrate the holiday found their bodies, state police said.

Gray, who grew up in affluent Prospect, Ky., and was studying business and finance at the University of Louisville, was being held on a $4 million bond at the Westchester County Jail in New York as Connecticut authorities awaited extradition, expected next week.

He faces capital felony and other charges when he returns to Connecticut. Capital felony carries a potential death sentence.

On Thanksgiving morning, Gray walked out of his uncle and aunt's home and disappeared on foot in a rural town he barely knew, state police said. His uncle and aunt, Christopher and Jocelyn Guzzi, reported him missing to state police shortly before 11 a.m.

Troopers asked several neighbors, including First Selectwoman Peggy Katkocin, if they had seen a kid wearing blue jeans and a gray sweat shirt.

At 11:30 a.m., the Ahrliches' relatives called 911 to report the discovery of the bodies.

Several hours later, New York state police found Gray in the Ahrliches' 1998 Dodge Durango after the vehicle had struck a guardrail on Interstate 684 in Bedford, N.Y.

Back in Louisville that day, friends and family were trying to get in touch with Gray.

Louisville resident Roger Chapman said his daughter, Gray's ex-girlfriend, got a phone call from Gray's worried father on Thanksgiving Day around 4 p.m.

"His dad did not know where he was," Chapman said. "There were no plans for Connecticut. His parents didn't know he was going to Connecticut."

Gray's father, Dr. Dennis Gray of Prospect, Ky., told Chapman's daughter that Alexander Gray left the New Fairfield home on foot at about 8 a.m.

Chapman's daughter, Nicole, and Gray broke up last summer after having dated for about a year. Nicole Chapman's mother, Linda, said the relationship ended after a series of angry outbursts by Gray.

The behavior seemed out of character.

"He was always well groomed, well mannered, polite," said Linda Chapman. "One of those kids who when they came into the house didn't have a problem sitting down and talking to you."

On May 8, 2001, Louisville police arrested Gray on a charge of trafficking marijuana within 1,000 yards of a school.

Ronald Ahrlich was a retired toolmaker and longtime volunteer firefighter. His wife Roberta was a registered nurse. They were in the process of selling land from their 12-acre property, once a small dairy farm, so they could retire to their cabin in Vermont.

Monday, the crime tape in front of their house had been removed and several bouquets of flowers, along with a Christmas wreath, had been left near a telephone pole there.

Tuesday, December 3, 2002



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