Even the prosecutor had to stop and collect his emotions while explaining the details of a pair of murders he called “ghastly.”
Ronald Gregory, 68, didn’t apologize, show emotion, or say much at all Monday while entering a plea to killing his wife and granddaughter.
Gregory refused a lawyer and defended himself, pleading guilty but mentally ill to the March 21 murders at his home in Rock Hill.
He admitted putting a gun to the chest of his wife, Barbara, and shooting her in the heart while she slept.
Then he walked into his granddaughter Mia’s room, and did the same.
However, Mia Rodgers didn’t die immediately. It took an hour. The prosecutor said Gregory sat with her, and she asked him, “When will I stop hurting?”
He never made any attempt to get her medical care.
“Anyone who has a heart would find it hard to get through this,” said Solicitor Kevin Brackett. “You’re talking about a little girl here, killed by her grandfather. The last thing she sees.”
Her maternal grandfather, Paul Rodgers, had no words for what happened in that house.
“I don’t know what to say to that. That’s just inhumane,” he said.
The following day, Gregory lay down next to his dead granddaughter, and shot himself in the chest.
When he realized he was still breathing, he pulled the trigger again. He recovered, and was released from the hospital five days later.
In statements to sheriff’s detectives the day after the killings, Gregory said he had thought about hurting himself for weeks. He came to the conclusion that if he was going to kill himself, he would also kill Mia and Barbara, because he didn’t want to leave them alone with no one to look after them.