Wigged-out man stalked ex-wife

Fulton County Assistant District Attorney Rewa Collier gripped a long-haired brown wig in her left hand and shook it in front of her as she spoke.

"How do you make that up?" Collier asked the jury. "That he was wearing a wig, ... that he was wearing women's clothes? How do you make that up?"

Behind Collier, in the defendant's chair, sat Billy Gravitt, the suspect in a bizarre kidnapping and aggravated stalking case. Fulton County police say Gravitt dressed in drag in order to sneak up on his ex-wife, who had filed a restraining order against him.

On the evening of Sept. 26, 2003, police say Gravitt caught Jane Carter off-guard as she was returning to her gated apartment complex in Alpharetta. They say he was wearing a woman's wig, a light colored women's suit jacket, and black pants with stripes, and that he forced Carter back into her car and drove her to a trailer in Dawson County.

In a written statement to the police, Carter says she was returning to her apartment from the store and was on her way to get the mail when she noticed a suspicious woman in the parking lot.

"I saw a woman stagger out from between two of the garage buildings across the street," Carter wrote in her statement. "She looked like she was drunk or hurt because she was staggering and had her hand over her face. ... I got out of the car, and just as I shut the door, I was grabbed around the neck ... and I was pushed to the pavement."

At the time of the parking lot incident, Gravitt was out on bond awaiting trial on battery charges. Two months earlier, on July 12, 2003, Gravitt had been charged with beating Carter, his then-wife, in retaliation for what he alleged were extramarital affairs. He was convicted of battery in 2004 and wound up serving several months in jail.

After the beating, the court issued Carter a restraining order against Gravitt, who was forbidden from contacting her in any way.

Yet in the weeks leading up to the stalking, Gravitt sent Carter several letters — all without a return address — asking for her to return their TV and other items. "The thing I hate most," Gravitt wrote, "is a liar and a thief, and you are both."

Carter wrote in her police statement that when Gravitt approached her in the apartment parking lot, "he took off screaming about [how] he had to dress up like a 'bitch' to get to talk to his own wife."

On Feb. 3, a jury convicted Gravitt of aggravated stalking but found him not guilty of kidnapping.

He will be sentenced Fri., Feb. 17.

Dr. Sarah Cook, an associate professor of psychology at Georgia State University, says Gravitt's decision to dress up like a woman is evidence of the frightening lengths to which some scorned exes will go.

"I wouldn't cast it in terms of psychopathology," Cook says of Gravitt's cross-dressing act. "I would cast it in terms of somebody's need to control and harm someone."

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