Jamaica Beach man found guilty in boy's death

January 23, 2010 6:00:10 PM PST
A 56-year-old man has been convicted of capital murder in the death of a 4-year-old who died after being wrapped in a sheet with a mesh bag over his head and placed in a hope chest. A jury on Friday convicted Daniel James Gray in the 2005 death of Kraig Jenkins, the grandson of Gray's ex-wife, the Galveston County Daily News reported. Gray's conviction carries an automatic life sentence without the possibility of parole.

Barbara Bawarsky pleaded guilty in 2008 to murder in the death of her grandson and testified against Gray. According to court testimony, the state had awarded Bawarsky custody of the boy because of parental neglect.

Bawarsky testified she and Gray frequently restrained Kraig with sheets and stuffed socks in his mouth. She videotaped some of those sessions.

She also testified that she used to cook methamphetamine in the Jamaica Beach apartment she shared with Gray.

Galveston County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Stephen Pustilnik testified Kraig died of chronic child abuse, blunt force trauma and asphyxiation.

Pustilnik said Kraig also likely suffered panic and terror from being unable to breathe.

Bawarsky testified that authorities found Kraig dead after wrapping him in a sheet, putting a mesh bag over his head and placing him in a hope chest. She testified that she thought Kraig would be safe in the chest while the couple had sex.

The boy was found unresponsive and the couple tried CPR on him before calling 911.

Gray's attorneys, Tom Stickler and Jimmy Phillips Jr., claimed their client was asleep in another room at the time of Kraig's death.

"For the jury, the fact that he was at the apartment at the time of Kraig's death, that was probably enough," Stickler said.