As children, Greg and two older sisters lived happily enough with their parents, Jobie and Bonnie Ousley. Though there was frequent strife and family arguments in the Ousley household, it was a normal enough situation until the girls grew old enough to move out.
According to Greg, this was when his mother first began focusing the bulk of her attention on him. She made Greg feel smothered and hopeless, as though he couldn’t live his own life. Greg wanted to be a guitar player. But in his mother’s eyes, this would never happen.
Bonnie Ousley wanted her children with her, always. When her daughters moved out, she viewed it as abandonment. She turned her grief and her loneliness on her son, Greg, making him the victim of explosive rages and often accusing him of things he had yet to do, such as leaving her the way his sisters had done.
Greg felt his father was little help. A quiet press operator who had trouble showing his feelings, Jobie Ousley appeared cold and reserved to most who knew him. Between the stress of being constantly harrassed by his mother and ignored by his father, Greg began to entertain thoughts that were both suicidal and homicidal.
According to friends close to Greg, he first began using inhalants when he was 12. This was about the time his second sister, Tammy, left home, and he became the sole focus of his mother’s anger. Friends said he took to the habit in a hard-core way, inhaling everything he could get access to, including WD-40, paint thinner, gasoline, and the glue used to make model cars and airplanes. Adding fuel to an already glowing fire, it was only a year later that Greg discovered his mother in a furtive embrace with a family friend — information he would later try and fail to use as blackmail to escape her constant attention.
According to Greg, he tried multiple times to tell his parents how he felt. He expressed fear that all he ever thought about was killing either himself or others. But each time, unable to handle the revelation, his parents would downplay his outcry, dismissing it as the result of watching too many movies.
At school, Greg’s behavior never raised red flags. Once an avid wrestler, he began ducking out of practice and wearing clothes depicting his favorite metal bands. Periodically, he would lie to his coach about why he couldn’t make practice. His behavior was just odd enough for teachers to consider it normal teenage angst. Consequently, no one close to him suspected how dark his thoughts had become.
They didn't know Greg had already crossed two important lines. He had once sighted his mother in using the scope on his rifle as she unwittingly hung clothes on the line. He had also tried to shoot himself in the foot to end the wrestling dilemma once and for all. He missed his foot but damaged his hearing. It’s unclear whether those around knew his actual intentions that day.
But there was a third warning sign, too. At just 13, Greg was telling classmates he planned to kill his parents.