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

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INDIANAPOLIS — Edward Franklin Gray, Jr., 45, is being held on a $200,000 surety bond, facing two charges of arson in the Oct. 20 fire that destroyed a home where a woman lived with her daughter in the 2500 block of Columbia Avenue.

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

Gabrielle told FOX59 News that Gray had struck 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.

“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 FOX59 News with the messages that the detective later listed in his Probable Cause Affidavit.

“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.”

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.

“He was on house arrest and he does not care,” said Gabrielle. “He basically told me that he does not care about the GPS, about the house arrest, about the police, he does not care. That was the main message from him.”

Gray should have cared about the GPS tracking device strapped to his ankle because 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.

An attorney specializing in cases where domestic violence is a factor said she tells her clients to document their evidence so that detectives can build a much stronger 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 Megan 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 will 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 important to document police reports and medical records to chart any domestic violence incidents.

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

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