Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Man Who Murdered Richmond, VA Family Receives Death Penalty

Commonwealth of Virginia prosecutor Tom McKenna reports:
"For God's sake, you give him death for killing those two children,'cause that's what this is all about."

The Richmond jury, while making us wait a suspensefully long time for the decision, agreed with prosecutor Learned Barry, who argued for Ricky Gray's death for the gruesome murders of the Harvey family recounted here.

If there were ever a case justifying the ultimate penalty, it was this one: a quadruple murder-robbery-home invasion with two child victims by a pair that slaughtered another family of three within days, robbed and almost killed another victim, and one of whom, Gray, had murdered his wife by beating her to death with a pipe.

May the Harvey and Tucker/Baskerville families find some small peace and solace at this conclusion.
From the Times-Dispatch story:
In the end, it all came down to the girls.

After more than 12 hours of heated deliberations, the jurors agreed that Ricky Javon Gray must pay with his life for taking those of young Stella and Ruby Harvey.

As Judge Beverly W. Snukals of Richmond Circuit Court read the verdicts recommending that Gray be condemned to death, Harvey family and friends in the courtroom let out an audible sigh of relief and wept quietly. Snukals also choked back tears.

"This has probably been the most difficult thing you've ever done -- probably for me, too," she told the jurors. She then asked a deputy to escort them from the building.

Gray showed no reaction, as was the case during almost the entire trial. The only time he blotted his eyes was when his mother testified in hopes of alleviating his sentence.
[ED.: I wonder how this piece of shit reacted when the mother of those 2 girls he murdered begged for her childrens' lives.]

The jury returned the death penalty for the murders of Stella, 9, a third-grader at Fox Elementary School, and Ruby, 4, a student at Second Presbyterian Child Care Center. The jurors recommended that Gray serve life in prison without parole for the other three capital-murder convictions -- killing someone during a robbery, killing more than one person at a time and killing more than one person in three years.

Bryan Harvey, 49, his wife, Kathryn, 39, and their daughters, Stella and Ruby, were bound and gagged New Year's Day in the basement of their Woodland Heights home. There, one at a time, Gray later told police, he and his alleged accomplice, Ray Joseph Dandridge, cut their throats, stabbed them in the back and bludgeoned them repeatedly in the head with hammers. Then, Gray said, they poured wine on the bodies and set the basement on fire before leaving.

Gray later told police he and Dandridge stole two laptop computers, Bryan Harvey's wedding ring and a basket of cookies.
[ED.: Hope them cookies were worth it, you son-of-a-bitch!]

Gray, 29, had killed before the Harveys, and he killed after them. In his own words from a Jan. 7 interview with police in Philadelphia, jurors learned that Gray beat to death his wife, Treva, with a pipe in their bed in November in Washington, Pa. Also, he told police he and Dandridge suffocated Percyell and Mary Tucker, and her daughter, Ashley Baskerville, with duct tape, gags and plastic wrapping.
(emphasis added)

My Comments:
I recently became an opponent of the death penalty for prudential reasons (I got tired of pro-aborts using capital punishment against me in arguments over the pro-life position). This case almost made me reconsider that decision. This is a textbook case arguing for capital punishment. I think maybe even the Pope himself might be willing to make an exception in this instance.


At 8/23/2006 3:19 PM, Anonymous Donald R. McClarey said...

Anytime I am swayed by any anti-death penalty arguments, I think back to a custody case I had a few years ago. After two years the mother, who I represented, was awarded custody of the boy and girl of the parties, 2 and 4 respectively. During the custody battle psych tests were conducted of the parties. Father was given a clean bill of health while mother was thought to have a few mild problems.

The week before Thanksgiving just 8 months after the custody issue was resolved Father took the kids for visitation. They never came back. Over the weekend on Saturday evening he shot to death his girlfriend, the mother of several children, and then shot to death his 4 year old daughter. The next day he shot to death his 2 year old son. He dumped the bodies of the children in a river about 40 miles from my town. After he was apprehended he refused to disclose the whereabouts of the children, or whether they were alive or dead. For two weeks my client lived suspended between hope and despair until a fisherman found the body of the little girl. After a 48 hour search the body of the little boy was found.

A few months before he came to trial the Father sent an open letter to several major newspapers blaming my client for the deaths of the children. He reasoned that they were better off dead than in her custody. He also expressed his undying love of the girlfriend he murdered and said they would be together in heaven one day.

Just before he was to be tried in Michigan, he entered a blind plea of guilty and was sentenced to life imprisonment, as Michigan does not have a death penalty.

The fact that this piece of filth still lives has always rankled me. Some crimes cry out for the ultimate penalty and this was one of them.

At 8/23/2006 5:42 PM, Blogger NixGuy said...

I think you should reconsider your anti-death penalty stance.

Being anti-death penalty is ironically, ultimately, an anti-life position.

What you are saying is that no matter how many people you kill, society will feed you the rest of your life and will never lift a finger against you. That position radically devalues life itself.

On the contrary the Bible doctrine on vengeance demands that the government exercise the Death Penalty on behalf of God's vengeance. Read Romans 13 again.

Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord. Which implies that vengeance will happen ultimately. It is my opinion that the government is an agent of vengeance.

I realize this not the catholic position, but nonetheless, pretty compelling.

At 8/23/2006 8:55 PM, Anonymous rhonda lugari said...

Jay, I'm not sure why you think that you cannot be for the death penalty and against abortion.

I'm in Michigan too, donald. When I first moved here I was so shocked and disturbed by the amount of child murders that were mentioned on the news every night. So, I had to stop watching. Which is why I probably never heard of the case you mentioned. Or maybe there are just so many that they can't cover all of them.

At 8/23/2006 10:15 PM, Blogger Jay Anderson said...

I don't think that, Rhonda. I believe it is quite defensible to be both pro-life and be in favor of the death penalty. I was for years.

Again, my new-found opposition to capital punishment is prudential, not doctrinal. I don't believe the Church can any more change the 4000-year-old Judeo-Christian teaching with respect to the appropriateness of the death penalty than it can change its teachings regarding the all-male priesthood or the sinfulness of homosexual and other extra-marital acts.

At 8/24/2006 9:50 PM, Blogger St. Jimbob of the Apokalypse said...

Who is beyond redemption, and who of us is qualified to make that judgment?
Don's first comment ends with an offender being rendered at a "piece of filth", which dehumanizes the perpetrator. Recognizing the humanity, and eventually Jesus, within a violent offender doesn't diminish the humanity of his victims, nor does it excuse his crime.
Nixguy's remarks bemoans the accommodations of those in prison. A- prison sucks, B- as little as budgetarily feasible is done to actually rehabilitate offenders. You get what you pay for.
Jay, it may be a prudential decision, but we should be enthusiastic messengers of God's mercy. It is possible to protect society from violent convicts without killing them, but a lot of death penalty proponents decry the expense of accommodating muderers. Hey, mercy isn't cheap, just ask Jesus.

At 8/24/2006 10:19 PM, Anonymous Donald R. McClarey said...

"Don's first comment ends with an offender being rendered at a "piece of filth", which dehumanizes the perpetrator."

Nope, just an accurate description. Anyone who murders his own kids is a piece of filth in my estimation.

It is also instructive that the Church had absolutely no problem with capital punishment until the pontificate of John Paul II, who I assume is now a saint. The late Pope hated capital punishment and was close to a pacifist regarding war. He attempted to have the Church reflect his views. I doubt if long term his effort will succeed. The Catholic tradition is simply contra to both these positions and I think the tradition is ultimately more powerful over time than any pope, even one as remarkable and personally holy as the late pope.


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