Terrilyn Gray’s ex-boyfriend burst into her Miami Gardens house on Aug. 6, 2012. Although he carried a pistol, Alphonso Lucas grabbed a knife from the kitchen as Gray cowered behind a locked bedroom door. Ug Mug, a pitbull-boxer mix tried to protect his family in the hallway but instead got seven stab wounds, severing his spine and puncturing his lung.
For jurors and courtroom observers, the details of the attack as laid out by a prosecutor were distressing enough.
Then came the 911 call.
Prosecutors played the audio as Gray’s daughter, Curtina Gray, took the witness stand on Tuesday and recounted the terrifying moments inside the bedroom with her mom. They threw their bodies against the door. Curtina dialed 911, begging officers to come. The door exploded off the hinges.
The phone dropped. Police dispatchers heard a chilling cacophony of howls and screams as Lucas pounced, stabbing his ex 24 times.
“I tried to get him off of her,” Curtina Gray, 29, testified during the opening day of Lucas trial for murder. “I was just fighting. She was just trying to get him off of her. She couldn’t fight anymore because she got stabbed so many times.”
Curtina, herself stabbed seven times, bolted from the room. Lucas ran after her. “Tina! Tina” Gray gasped, according to the audio. The screams fell silent.
Listeners heard Gray’s final labored breaths. A few silent, tense moments passed. Deep, hoarse whimpers pierced the silence. It was Ug Mug the dog, dying in a pool of blood.
In the Miami-Dade courtroom, Gray’s relatives sobbed loudly and hugged each other. Several horrified legal interns in the gallery had tears in their eyes. Jurors appeared stunned.
So began the trial for Lucas, 46, who had a stormy relationship with Gray, 42, that lasted over two years. Prosecutors say Lucas stalked her that day, threatened her over the phone and then broke into the home through a glass door on the side of the home.
After the frenzied attack, Lucas chased Curtina down the block before a passerby rescued her. She spent several hours in the hospital, escaping with some 50 stitches.
Lucas later turned himself into Miami Gardens police. He is facing life in prison if convicted of murder, attempted murder and animal cruelty for the stabbing of Ug Mug.
The facts of the case were so horrible that lawyers had a tough time finding jurors. Attorneys had to sort through a total of 250 candidates, many of them animal lovers who said they could not be fair because the case involved a dog.
“The dog did not die right away. You will hear that he suffered from his injuries and had to be euthanized,” Miami-Dade prosecutor Rachel Morales-Gellis told jurors during opening statements.
For his part, Lucas is not contesting that he killed Gray and the dog.
Instead, he is claiming self-defense, even though he broke into the home. His defense attorney, Jonathan Jordan, told jurors that he had merely gone to the house to borrow a truck and Gray hit him with a hammer outside, knocking out several teeth.
Dazed and bloodied, Lucas only broke into the house to ask: ‘Why did you do that?’ Jordan said.
“Terrilyn Gray was the initial aggressor,” Jordan said.
As for Ug Mug, Lucas is claiming self-defense against the dog too.
“It is tragic that a dog lost its life,” Jordan said. “You’re going to hear that this is not a tiny dog by any means. This is a dog that can inflict serious bodily injury. Terrilyn Gray ordered him to attack Alphonso Lucas. The dog followed her commands. Mr Lucas had bite marks.”
The trial continues Wednesday before Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Teresa Mary Pooler.