Pubdate: Wed, 23 Apr 2014
Source: USA Today (US)
Copyright: 2014 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc
Author: Tony Leys, The Des Moines Register


Paul Gray's final weeks were a blur of extreme drug abuse, which
neither his doctor nor his bandmates would help his wife confront, she
testified in Polk County District Court on Tuesday.

Brenna Gray said her husband, the bassist and a founder of the
internationally known band Slipknot, relapsed into drug addiction in
about 2008.

Gray testified that she raised concerns about why his Des Moines,
Iowa, doctor, Daniel Baldi, continued prescribing the anti-anxiety
drug Xanax, which her husband had a history of abusing. Paul Gray, 38,
died of a drug overdose at an Urbandale motel in May 2010.

"I just knew it was his drug of choice, that he'd struggled with it.
So I just wasn't really sure why he was on it, why he needed it along
with the medication he was taking for addiction," Brenna Gray testified.

Baldi, who is on trial in Polk County District Court, faces nine
counts of involuntary manslaughter in the deaths of Gray and eight
others. Prosecutors contend the deaths resulted from Baldi's careless
prescription habits, a claim he denies. His lawyer said Baldi didn't
prescribe the drugs that caused Gray's death and several others.

Brenna Gray said she tried to persuade Baldi to take her husband's
drug abuse more seriously. She testified that she took pictures of her
husband passed out and shared them with Baldi. She said she also told
the doctor she'd found hypodermic needles, including a used one that
her husband apparently tried to flush down the toilet.

Brenna Gray described how she and family members staged an
intervention with her husband, telling him they were concerned about
his heavy drug use. He left their Johnston house and went to the
TownePlace Suites hotel, she said.

Brenna Gray said she didn't call 911 because she was afraid that if
she did, she would be arrested for the drugs her husband stashed in
their house. She said she also feared their unborn child would be
taken by child-welfare authorities.

She said she called her husband's bandmates, but none offered to help.
Slipknot bandmates Corey Taylor and Shawn Crahan are listed as
potential witnesses in the trial. "One was playing golf two minutes
away from our house but couldn't come," she testified. "Nobody else
cared, nobody was involved. They told me it was my problem." Two days
later, he was found dead in his hotel room.

Guy Cook, Baldi's attorney, asked Brenna Gray whether she was aware
that medical records included no reference to her sharing pictures of
her passed-out husband with Baldi or of her telling the doctor about
finding needles. She looked at the lawyer skeptically. "A lot of
things weren't noted in there," she said.

Gray said she sometimes accompanied her husband to doctor's
appointments. At times, she said, Baldi seemed genuinely interested in
helping wean him off his prescription drug habit. "Dr. Baldi would
call it the puzzle; we'd have to piece it together," she said. But she
said Baldi continued prescribing pills.

Cook asked Gray if she knew that Baldi had been tapering down her
husband's Xanax doses in the months before his death. "Finally," she
replied, "yes, it was reduced."

Cook noted to Gray that among the numerous pill bottles police found
in the hotel room, only one had contained drugs prescribed by Baldi.
He said those pills were Suboxone, a medication for people trying to
break drug addiction. He also asked if she was aware that tests done
after his death showed her husband overdosed on the painkillers
fentanyl and morphine, neither of which Baldi ever prescribed to him.

"You understand, do you not, ma'am, that if Paul got the morphine and
the fentanyl on the street somewhere, that it's nobody's fault except
Mr. Gray or the person he got it from?" Cook asked her.

Brenna Gray had maintained her composure through more than an hour of
testimony. But her voice broke as she responded to Cook's question. "I
don't know where he got them," she said, dabbing her eyes with a
tissue. "... It's a hypothetical question. It's not fair."

If convicted, Baldi could face up to 18 years in prison.
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