ESSEX COUNTY, Va. -- The man accused of running over and killing his girlfriend in Essex County over the weekend recently professed his love for her on Facebook.
Benjamin Matthew Gray was arrested and charged with first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder Sunday after he turned himself in at the sheriff's office hours after investigators say he ran over and killed 36-year-old Yolanda Smith.
Smith's body was found Saturday night, at about 9 p.m., near the intersection of Boston Road and Tidewater Trail.
"After a domestic altercation in the vehicle, Yolanda Smith was later found dead of apparent blunt force trauma in the state highway," the Essex Sheriff's Office wrote in a statement. Sheriff Stanley Clarke later confirmed Gray was accused of throwing Smith from his Acura SUV and running her over two or three times.
"He ran her over on purpose," Sheriff Clarke said. "We have no indication yet what set him off."
There was a third person in the vehicle with Gray and Smith. Investigators are still trying to determine the third person's role in the incident. The sheriff said the attempted first-degree murder charge against Gray was in relation to the third person. That third person was not injured.
On a Facebook page that appears to belong to Benjamin Gray, a public status was left one month before Smith's death that indicated Gray was thankful to God that Smith had given him a second chance. "No one can ever part us," the post read. "She will always be my love."
The day before that status was written, a photo was posted showing a couple that appears to be Gray and Smith, smiling for the camera.
Following his arrest, Gray was booked at Middle Peninsula Regional Security Center. He is being held without bond pending his next court hearing. If you knew Grey and/or Smith and would like to share your thoughts, click here.
CBS 6 News contacted Gray’s attorney for comment, but as of 7 p.m. Monday, the station had not received a response.
Gray remains behind bars at the Middle Peninsula Regional Security Center until his April court appearance.