When police responded to a report of a man screaming for help, what they found could be described as a mystery worthy of the most captivating crime novels. The only thing they know for sure is that homeless man Daniel Eugene Mooty is dead. Mooty, 51, is well known to people in the area. According to a report from WHIO, he is described as a very aggressive panhandler and known for violent outbursts.
Police arrested a man at the scene and claim he is the killer. Curtis Gray, 27, has been charged with three counts of murder and two counts of felonious assault. Gray is also well known in the area, but for much different reasons. Gray is a server at Thai 9 restaurant at 11 Wayne Avenue, in Dayton. Bartenders and workers in the Oregon District know Gray as a hard-working, Army veteran who they describe as incapable of committing the kind of violence for which he is charged.
When police arrived at the vacant home on Quitman Street near Little Street in the early morning hours of October 11, 2013, they found Mooty dead from stab wounds and took Gray into custody. The caller to 9-1-1 reported she saw one man chasing another man but did not or could not identify either man. She also said she heard one man scream for help, but again she couldn't identify which man was screaming. Gray had been with friends at Blind Bob's bar in the Oregon district and might have been walking home as he lives only a few blocks from where the violent altercation took place. His friends said that Gray did not want to get drunk and only had a beer or two.
Mooty has an extensive criminal history including prison terms for offenses such as Breaking & Entering and Forgery. He has been arrested over ninety times for offenses ranging from public intoxication to drug offenses, soliciting prostitution and robbery. His latest offense was on October 1st where he was issued a summons for public intoxication and having an open container in public. Gray has no criminal history.
Police admit that they have not been able to identify any type of motive on behalf of Gray. Friends of Gray are at a loss as to what might have lead up to the altercation that left Mooty dead. Gray has requested an attorney through the public defenders office, but his friends are hoping to hold a fundraiser to help pay for his legal defense.
Courtney Peterson, who has been friends with Gray for several years does not believe he would hurt anyone. "Curtis is one of my best friends. He's known for his loyalty and kindness to others. The response we've had in support of him has been overwhelming." She added, "People [are] offering money, offering to organize fundraising events. It is [simply] a testament to how loved he is, and what type of man he is." The only thing she could fathom is that Mooty attacked Gray and that if Gray killed Mooty, it was a case of self-defense.
Gray is currently incarcerated in the Montgomery County Jail and will face the court on October 21st for a preliminary hearing. In felony cases, a preliminary hearing is held to determine if there is enough evidence to hold a defendant in jail until a grand jury can decide whether an indictment is to be issued. Meanwhile, Gray's friends are holding out hope that the truth will come out and that their friend will be released from jail.