A convicted rapist is charged with murder in the killing of a Connecticut visiting nurse

A convicted rapist has been charged with murder and attempted sexual assault in the killing of a visiting nurse at a Connecticut halfway house for sex offenders in October

Dave Collins
Friday 19 April 2024 20:09 BST

A convicted rapist was charged with murder and attempted sexual assault Friday in the killing of a visiting nurse at a Connecticut halfway house for sex offenders in October — a crime that spurred calls for better safety measures for home health care workers.

Authorities added the charges against Michael Reese, 39, as he appeared in state court in Danielson for a related larceny and drug paraphernalia case. Police arrested him on those allegations as he was leaving the Willimantic halfway house on the day when Joyce Grayson was found dead in the basement on Oct. 28. Officers said Reese had some of Grayson's possessions on him.

Grayson, a 63-year-old mother of six and a nurse for 36 years, had gone to the house to administer medication to Reese. Police responded there when someone reported she had missed later appointments.

Reese was charged with murder, felony murder and attempted first-degree sexual assault, according to the court clerk's office. Additional details of the allegations were not immediately available.

Reese's public defender did not immediately return phone and emails messages seeking comment Friday.

New details of the killing emerged Friday with the release of the arrest warrant for Reese. Grayson was strangled and was found naked from the waist down, except for her socks, according to the warrant. She also had blunt-force injuries to her head, torso and extremities, the warrant said, citing an autopsy by the chief medical examiner's office.

Testing also showed that DNA found on Grayson's body was highly likely Reese's DNA, the warrant said.

Grayson's daughter called police to request a well-being check after Grayson missed some appointments after Reese, the warrant said. The daughter said she used a phone location app and it said Grayson was at the address of the halfway house, according to the document.

Police also said the Department of Correction recorded phone calls Reese made while detained on the larceny and drug paraphernalia charges that appear to implicate him in the killing.

“Basically, bro, it was a robbery gone wrong, bro. A robbery gone accident, that's it,” Reese said on one of the calls, according to the warrant.

In another phone conversation, Reese said he had started using drugs again and it led him to do “what happened," the warrant said. He also said that he would take a plea bargain, according to the document.

“I'm going to take the first offer that they give me as long as the charges are right,” he said, according to the warrant. “I don't care, like, I'm, I've already come to terms that this is it for me.”

Grayson was a nurse for the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services for 26 years before serving as a visiting nurse for over a decade, according to her family. She also was a beloved foster parent, taking in nearly three dozen children and being honored with the state’s Foster Parent of the Year award in 2017.

After her death, state and federal lawmakers renewed pushes to prevent violence against health care workers.

Reese, who was on probation after serving more than 14 years in prison for stabbing and sexually assaulting a woman in 2006 in New Haven, was taken into police custody while leaving the halfway house on the day Grayson was killed. He was released from prison in late 2020 and was sent back to detention two times for violating probation, state records show.

Authorities said he had some of Grayson’s belongings, including credit cards, and was charged with violating probation, larceny and using drug paraphernalia.

The warrant said he drove Grayson's car to a bank and a local convenience store and used Grayson's debit card to withdraw more than $400 before returning to the house and getting arrested. Police said surveillance video showed Reese at the bank and store, and his GPS monitoring device for his probation showed him near those locations at the same times.

A judge on Friday set bail at $2 million on the new charges. Reese has been detained on bail since his arrest. He is due back in court on June 7.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in