A cry in the night by Thomas French, Times staff writer
Almost 25 years after a murder shocked the little city of Gulfport, the man convicted of the killing hopes that DNA evidence can clear him. Here, for the first time online, is the St. Petersburg Times’ 1988 series about the case.

It was not the most important case in the world, or the most striking, or the most shocking. The victim wasn’t rich. She wasn’t famous. She wasn’t the daughter of anyone powerful. She was simply a 36-year-old woman trying to make a life for herself. Her name was Karen Gregory. The fact that Karen was only one of many victims and that her death was not as newsworthy as some did not lessen the pain felt afterward by those who cared about her. Here is the 1988 10-part series that chronicled the Karen Gregory murder case. Was the right man on trial? How would the prosecution try to prove it? How would the defense respond? And what would be the toll on the accused man’s family — and on Karen’s?

Can technology settle murder doubts?

The cover of the special reprint of A cry in the night from 1988.
[Watercolor portrait of Karen Gregory by Neverne Covington]
Part one
  • Ghosts
    After the murder, Karen's family and friends struggle with the possibility that the case will never be solved.
    (June 12, 1988)
Part two
  • Friends
    The long court battle begins with the arrest of George Lewis, a firefighter close to the chief detective.
    (June 13, 1988)
Part three
  • New Year's Eve
    Mounting their defense, two lawyers for Lewis gamble on a strategy of surprise.
    (June 14, 1988)
Part four
  • Tonja
    One month before trial, police stumble across new evidence that threatens to shatter Lewis' defense.
    (June 15, 1988)
Part five
  • Survivors
    Karen's family and friends find help dealing with the aftermath of the murder.
    (June 19, 1988)
Part six
  • Trial
    Three years after the murder, the case finally opens before the jury.
    (June 20, 1988)
Part seven
  • Private Wars
    Karen's family is incensed as Lewis' lawyers seek to read Karen's diary, searching for leads.
    (June 21, 1988)
Part eight
  • The Good Neighbor
    On the witness stand, Lewis tells the jurors his side of what happened that night.
    (June 22, 1988)
Part nine
  • We, The Jury
    Twelve men and women wrestle with their consciences and the fate of the accused.
    (June 26, 1988)
Part ten

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