The Background and Childhood of Dana Sue Gray

Dana Sue Gray

Dana Sue Grey is a female serial killer who was convicted of murdering two elderly women and attempting to murder a third during her killing spree in California in 1994.

Only 8 percent of American serial killers are women, and Dana Sue Gray stands out as different among that 8 percent. Often, female serial killers murder people who are in their care – children, spouses, elderly adults – and often, women kill in an impersonal manner, through the use of poison or guns. Rarely do women kill at a close range, and most often, women serial killers go undetected for a longer period of time than do men serial killers.

A Different Kind of Woman Serial Killer

None of the above was the case for Gray. During her month-long spree, Gray is credited with killing three women and attempting to kill a fourth, all through hands-on and personal methods. Because of her need for wealth and material items, Gray was caught very quickly, and many believe her vanity is what allowed police to catch her.

The Early Life of Dana Sue Gray

Gray was born in California to an aggressive mother and a passive father. Her mother, Beverly, was incredibly materialistic, often maxing out her husband’s credit cards on luxury items that she may never have looked at again. When Gray was only two, her parents divorced, and for many years, her father did not have a large presence in her life.

In fact, it wasn’t until her mother died of breast cancer when Gray was 14 that she developed much of a relationship with her father. At that point, Gray was forced to move in with him and her step-mother.

Here she often acted up to gain attention. The arrangement did not last long, and soon, Gray was kicked out for having drugs in her father’s house.

Abortion, Divorce, and Luxurious Living

From there, Gray began dating a skydiving instructor and soon became pregnant. The instructor convinced her to abort the child, an incident that would happen twice before Gray moved on. Aborting the children was something that she regretted, and the decisions affected her for years.

In 1987, Gray married her husband at a winery in Temecula, Calif. By the time her killing spree began, the two were divorced, citing irreconcilable differences. Around the same time, Gray lost her job as a registered nurse, filed for bankruptcy, citing $216,418 in debt, lost her house, and suffered a miscarriage. Shortly after her divorce, Gray moved in with her boyfriend and his 5-year-old son in their trailer in Wildomar, California.

Some say that it is a chain of events that sent Gray off on a killing binge, while others believe that Gray was simply materialistic and vain, killing only to support her opulent tastes.


  1. Ramsland, Katherine. Addicted to Luxury: The Pampered Killer.