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A convicted rapist is charged with murder in the killing of a Connecticut visiting nurse

FILE: Close-up of Crime Scene tape fallen to floor
Henry Steadman
Getty Images
FILE: Close-up of Crime Scene tape fallen to floor

A convicted rapist was charged with murder and attempted sexual assault Friday in the killing of a visiting nurse at a Connecticut halfway house for sex offenders in October — a crime that spurred calls for better safety measures for home health care workers.

Authorities added the charges against Michael Reese, 39, as he appeared in state court in Danielson for a related larceny and drug paraphernalia case. Police arrested him on those allegations as he was leaving the Willimantic halfway house on the day when Joyce Grayson was found dead in the basement on Oct. 28. Officers said Reese had some of Grayson's possessions on him.

Grayson, a 63-year-old mother of six and a nurse for 36 years, had gone to the house to administer medication to Reese. Police responded there when someone reported she had missed later appointments.

Reese was charged with murder, felony murder and attempted first-degree sexual assault, according to the court clerk's office. Additional details of the allegations were not immediately available.

Reese's public defender did not immediately return phone and emails messages seeking comment Friday.

Grayson was a nurse for the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services for 26 years before serving as a visiting nurse for over a decade, according to her family. She also was a beloved foster parent, taking in nearly three dozen children and being honored with the state’s Foster Parent of the Year award in 2017.

After her death, state and federal lawmakers renewed pushes to prevent violence against health care workers.

Reese, who was on probation after serving more than 14 years in prison for stabbing and sexually assaulting a woman in 2006 in New Haven, was taken into police custody while leaving the halfway house on the day Grayson was killed. He was released from prison in late 2020 and was sent back to detention two times for violating probation, state records show.

Authorities said he had some of Grayson’s belongings, including credit cards, and was charged with violating probation, larceny and using drug paraphernalia.

A judge on Friday set bail at $2 million on the new charges. Reese has been detained on bail since his arrest. He is due back in court on June 7.

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