The Killer Beside Me is investigating the case of Gail Spencer, a legal secretary from Macon, Georgia, who, in 2012, was taken hostage and murdered in a scheme hatched by her colleague, Tracy Jones.
Jones, along with her boyfriend, Brett Kelly, his half-sister Courtney Kelly, and Keith Dozier, planned to take Gail hostage and steal money from her employer.
In the fall of 2012, Gail’s neighbors had an arrangement with her, whereby she let their dog into their home. When they returned home late one day to discover their pet was still outside, they knocked on Gail’s door. When they got no answer, they became concerned and telephoned the police.
When the police forced their way into Gail’s house, they discovered the 58-year-old grandmother had been raped and murdered. They subsequently uncovered the diabolical scheme, which led to her murder and the theft of millions of dollars from her workplace.
Gail had worked at a real estate law firm in Macon for about ten years. As part of her duties, she was authorized to deal with estate closings and to wire transfers.
Gail’s colleague Tracy Jones was able to perform wire transfers herself but only under Gail’s supervision. Jones concocted a scheme with her boyfriend, Brett Kelly, Courtney Kelly, and Keith Dozier, where Gail would be held hostage while she transferred money to their own accounts.
On the morning of October 5, 2012, Brett, Dozier, and Jones traveled to Gail’s house, where Jones managed to persuade her colleague to let her use her bathroom and get a drink from her kitchen.
Brett and Dozier, armed and wearing masks, then rushed into the home and imprisoned Gail. Courtney then drove Jones to work, where she transferred nearly $1 million to three bank accounts owned by Courtney. However, there is no honor among thieves, so before sharing the money, Courtney fled town.
Gail Spencer suffocated to death
Meanwhile, Kelly and Dozier had strapped Gail to a chair and then sodomized her before suffocating the grandmother to death with a plastic bag and leaving her remains on the bed. Dozier would later tell the police that she had begged for her life and that Brett had threatened to kill her grandchildren.
When Courtney’s accomplices discovered her deception, they had Jones perform two more transfers on October 9 of $245,000 and $163,000.
Luckily, the police received a tip that led them to Brett Kelly, who, in turn, led them to Courtney, Dozier, and Jones. All four criminals were quickly arrested and charged with malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, burglary, false imprisonment, theft by taking, and aggravated sodomy.
Jones and Brett Kelly pleaded guilty to murder and received life sentences without the possibility of parole. Courtney Kelly also pleaded guilty to her role in the crime and was sentenced to life.
Dozier claimed he was coerced into the crime by Brett Kelly and that he had feared for his life. However, in June 2019, a jury disagreed with his version of events and sentenced him to life in prison without parole, plus 20 years.
More from The Killer Beside Me
Follow the links to read about more murders profiled on The Killer Beside Me.
In 2011, Zachary Lapelusa embarked on a violent vendetta against his former manager, Antoinette Vendetti Bruce. He confronted her in a Connecticut parking lot and forced her into her car. Medical examiners said Vendetti Bruce was stabbed between 50 and 90 times.
Alexander Kozak had a texting relationship with fellow mall worker Andre Farrington when he took offense to her for reasons not fully understood. In June 2015, he entered her workplace at an Iowa mall and shot her three times in the back. He was sentenced to life in prison.
The Killer Beside Me airs at 10/9c on Investigation Discovery.