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Mintz family hopes for answers this week

Three years after their mother's murder, Andrew Little Gray and her sister hope for answers this week when their former stepfather appears in court in Columbus for a special hearing on the case.


Vanessa Mintz, the mother of Little Gray and her sister, Jessica Freeman, was found dead in the Saluda Mountain Lodge, which Mintz managed, on Feb. 19, 2011. She had been shot to death in the manager's quarters of the inn, which the family owned.
Investigators charged Mintz's husband, Travis McGraw, with her murder.
The murder trial has been delayed by a variety of unusual circumstances.
Travis McGrawTravis McGrawDistrict Attorney Greg Newman, who was appointed last summer, removed his office from the prosecution because his law partner had represented McGraw in a divorce case. The case was the docket in January when McGraw's attorney, Tony Dalton of Brevard, was hospitalized with high blood pressure and ordered to slow down.
Little Gray and her sister, Jessica Freeman, and Vanessa's father, Carl Mintz, have watched and waited. Last May, they were stunned to learn that the man accused of killing their mother had been able to bond out of jail on a $750,000. If the family could pledge the property for bail, they asked, why did McGraw have a public defender paid for with tax dollars? They worried that McGraw, a former police officer with military special ops training, would skip bail and disappear.
On Friday Alex Bass, the McDowell County assistant district attorney who is handling the prosecution, told family members that McGraw is scheduled for a hearing in Polk County on March 21.
"It will be open to the public and I think that a lot of answers will come in that special hearing," Little Gray said. "All we've been told is there's a special hearing in the Polk County Courthouse and that we'll find more answers. ... Hopefully all of our questions will be answered."
Newman said last week that Bass's office had notified his office that it might need to hold a hearing in the McGraw case as early as Monday of this week, although the hearing was not scheduled.
"We'd been hearing that there may be a plea worked out," Newman said.
No hearing has been officially set, a Polk County clerk of court official said. The court file lists a trial date of May 19.

McGraw, 47, was arrested four days after the death of his wife and had been jailed in Transylvania County until his release on bond in May 2013.