Steven J. Gray, Appellant,
State of Utah, Appellee.
District Court, Provo Department The Honorable Claudia
Laycock No. 140400748
J. Gray, Appellant Pro Se.
D. Reyes and Erin Riley, Attorneys for Appellee.
J. Frederic Voros Jr. authored this Opinion, in which Judges
Kate A. Toomey and Jill M. Pohlman concurred.
Steven J. Gray appeals the postconviction court's order
granting summary judgment in favor of the State on his
petition for relief under the Post-Conviction Remedies Act
(PCRA). We affirm.
After consuming cocaine and alcohol for days, Gray stabbed
his girlfriend 67 times and mutilated her body. He then moved
her body to the bathroom, cleaned and secured the residence,
and fled. He later walked into a police station in another
state and confessed to the crime. Gray described the crime as
a "fatal result of his acts of passion."
The State charged Gray with aggravated murder, a capital
felony; object rape, a first degree felony; mayhem, a second
degree felony; obstruction of justice, a second degree
felony; and abuse or desecration of a human body, a third
degree felony. The information advised Gray that the State
intended to seek the death penalty. Gray was assigned a team
of four attorneys as his counsel.
Gray had a history of drug abuse and reported to his counsel
that he suffered from anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic
stress disorder. His counsel obtained his mental health
records from various correctional and health institutions.
They also retained a mitigation expert, who interviewed
Gray's friends and family members. This investigation
uncovered a childhood and adolescent history of physical,
emotional, and sexual abuse.
Pursuant to a plea agreement, the State amended the
information and agreed not to seek the death penalty. The
amended information charged Gray with aggravated murder, a
first degree felony; mayhem, a second degree felony; and
abuse or desecration of a human body, a third degree felony.
Gray pleaded guilty to all three counts. He was sentenced to
life in prison without parole. He did not appeal.
Gray later filed a petition for postconviction relief,
alleging that his counsel were ineffective for "failing
to investigate [his] extensive history of mental illness as a
defense" and for failing "to tell [him] of possible
defenses, such as temporary mental insanity, extreme
emotional distress, etc." Gray argued that, but for his
counsel's deficient performance, he would have proceeded
to trial and presented a "viable defense of insanity
and/or extreme emotional distress manslaughter." The
State moved for summary judgment. The postconviction court
granted the State's motion.
AND STANDARD OF REVIEW
Gray contends on appeal that the postconviction court erred
in granting the State's motion for summary judgment and
denying his petition for postconviction relief. We review a
postconviction court's grant of summary judgment for
correctness. Honie v. State, 2014 UT 19, ¶ 28,
342 P.3d 182. "We affirm a grant of summary judgment
when the record shows that there is no genuine issue as to
any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a