The widow of Slipknot bassist Paul Gray recalled his grim final days while giving court testimony against the masked musician's sometime doctor, Daniel Baldi, this week. The doctor is currently on trial for the deaths of Gray and eight others, stemming from involuntary manslaughter charges that he had been careless with prescriptions, according to The Des Moines Register. Brenna Gray's testimony claimed that neither Baldi nor his bandmates would help her confront the bassist – who had prior problems with drugs – before his death.
Paul, who cofounded Slipknot in 1995 with drummer Joey Jordison and percussionist Shawn Crahan, was found dead at age 38 in an Urbandale, Iowa hotel room in May 2010. An autopsy revealed he had died of an overdose of morphine and fentanyl, a synthetic morphine substitute.
"The first time I saw a needle in my house was the week before Paul had passed," she said. "The first time I had seen one in years. When I had moved in, I had thrown away needles. That was the prior time I had seen them in our house. I told [the doctor], 'I think he's using needles. . . ' He checked Paul's hands, where frequently he had used intravenous drugs and had track marks, so his hands are scarred up. He checked his arms. He had not checked his feet." She said that she had suggested the doctor check his feet.
Brenna reported that the doctor told her that Gray had passed his drug test and that the bassist had taken one every time he went to a doctor's appointment. She found out that he had been testing positive for quite a few times after his death and that Baldi had continued to prescribe the anti-anxiety drug Xanax, which he had a history of abusing. Additionally, Brenna said Paul received medication refills of Xanax and Suboxine, which treats opium addictions, while on the road. Brenna said that Paul's Xanas usage was eventually reduced in the months before his death.
"I found a needle floating in our toilet that was meant to be flushed, I believe, about a week before he died," she said. "And then I had found a bag of needles the Saturday we staged the intervention [with family members] as well, unused, and I found one used needle that same Saturday."
Paul Gray's Widow Testifies About Slipknot Member's Death
She said she reported finding the used needle to Dr. Baldi, the band's manager and her mother. She did not, however, speak with the doctor between the intervention and her husband's death. She also did not call 911 about the bassist's drug use at the time because she thought she would be arrested for possession and feared her unborn child would later be taken by authorities.
Brenna testified that she had taken photos of Paul passed out and shown them to Baldi. When Baldi's attorney asked why there were no notes of her showing photos to him, she said, "A lot of things weren't noted in there."
Instead of calling authorities, she contacted Gray's bandmates in Slipknot, who she claimed refused to help. Frontman Corey Taylor and Crahan are listed as potential witnesses in the trial. "One was playing golf two minutes away from our house but couldn't come," she testified. "Nobody else cared, nobody was involved. They told me it was my problem." Paul died two days later.
Baldi's lawyer alleged that Paul might not have gotten drugs from his client, saying only one bottle of pills found in the hotel room where he overdosed had a label naming his client. "You understand, do you not, ma'am, that if Paul got the morphine and the fentanyl on the street somewhere, that it's nobody's fault except Mr. Gray or the person he got it from?" he said.
"I don't know where he got them," she said. "It's a hypothetical question. It's not fair."
If convicted, Baldi could serve up to 18 years in prison. The doctor denies responsibility in all nine of the deaths he has been charged with.
In a 2011 interview with Revolver magazine, Brenna said she did not know exactly when Paul slipped back into his addictions. "I wouldn't say I really noticed anything until six weeks prior to his death," she said. "And I knew something was going on, but I couldn't put my finger on it. Because he would be fine one day, and the next he wouldn't. So I was kind of unsure, like, 'Hmm, something's not adding up here.' And it wasn't until that Saturday that I realized what was going on when I found [needles] in my home. Then he passed away that Sunday."
Brenna said Paul agreed to work on his problem. He was about to go on tour with the metal cover band Hail, but she told him he wasn't allowed to leave so she could monitor him. "I called his manager, and I said, 'You need to cancel this tour. He's not going,'" she said. "And I just think it was a little too late. I think there's nothing anyone could have done. And it's just a big shock because I don't think any of us really knew this time."
Although Slipknot's members have released albums variously and separately since Gray's death, the group has yet to release a follow-up to its most recent release, 2008's All Hope Is Gone. In February, Taylor told Kerrang!, via NME, that Slipknot had begun work on a new album. "I can say that, to me – and this is only my opinion – it's a cross between [2001's] Iowa and [2004's] Volume 3, but that's honestly just scratching the surface," he said. "I think the fans are going to be very, very excited when they hear this stuff."