Virginia to execute man convicted in family’s 2006 slaying

FILE - In this Jan. 3, 2007, file photo, Ricky Gray is escorted from the county courthouse in Culpeper, Va. Gray is scheduled to be put to death on Jan. 18, 2017 for the 2006 murders of Stella Harvey and Ruby. The girls and their parents, Bryan and Kathryn Harvey, were found in the basement of their burning home, bound, beaten and stabbed, with their throats cut. (Mike Morones/The Free Lance-Star via AP, File)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP/WAVY) — Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said he will not spare the life of a man set to be executed for the slayings of two young girls and their parents in their Richmond home on New Year’s Day 2006.

Ricky Gray, 39, is scheduled to receive a lethal injection at 9 p.m. Wednesday.

Gov. McAuliffe said the following:

After a thorough review of the petition for clemency submitted by Ricky Gray and the various letters submitted by other parties, I have decided not to intervene in this case. Mr. Gray was convicted in a fair and impartial trial, and a jury sentenced him to death in accordance with Virginia law. Federal and state appellate courts have extensively reviewed his case and denied his requested relief. Unless a court intervenes, the Department of Corrections will carry out the execution in accordance with the order of the sentencing court.”

Gray had asked the governor for clemency, arguing that the sexual abuse he suffered as a child and subsequent drug use provides an understanding of his actions that was never provided to jurors.

But the Democratic governor said he has found no reason to intervene in Gray’s case. The governor said Gray received a fair and impartial trial and his case has been extensively reviewed by the courts.

“Unless a court intervenes, the Department of Corrections will carry out the execution in accordance with the order of the sentencing court,” McAuliffe said in a statement.

FILE- In this May 17, 1996 file photo Kathryn and Bryan Harvey pose in their store in Richmond, Va. More than 11 years after the brutal murders of the well-known Richmond couple and their children, some hope the execution of the man convicted of the killings will close a painful chapter of the community’s history. Ricky Gray is scheduled to be put to death Jan. 18, 2017, for the murders. (Alexa Welch Edlund/Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP, File)
FILE- In this May 17, 1996 file photo Kathryn and Bryan Harvey pose in their store in Richmond, Va. More than 11 years after the brutal murders of the well-known Richmond couple and their children, some hope the execution of the man convicted of the killings will close a painful chapter of the community’s history. Ricky Gray is scheduled to be put to death Jan. 18, 2017, for the murders. (Alexa Welch Edlund/Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP, File)

 

Gray’s attorneys called the governor’s decision disappointing, noting that dozens of mental health professionals had also asked for his life to be spared.

“Ricky’s execution will serve no purpose other than retribution, and it will add to the losses and suffering of members of our community,” Rob Lee and Jonathan Sheldon said in a statement.

On Tuesday, Gray’s attorneys also asked the U.S. Supreme Court to halt his execution so he can continue his challenge to the state’s plans to use lethal injection drugs from a secret compounding pharmacy.

Virginia will be the first state to use midazolam from a compounding pharmacy, his attorneys say. They say the state risks “chemically torturing” the man.

A federal judge in Richmond and the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals have rejected Gray’s efforts to put his execution on hold.

Ricky Gray, 39,  is scheduled to receive a lethal injection at 9 p.m. Wednesday.

READ: Ricky Gray Stay of Execution Request

Gray’s attorneys have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to put his execution on hold so he can pursue his challenge to the state’s lethal injection plan.

Gray and his nephew Ray Dandridge were looking for a home to rob on New Year’s Day 2006 when they spotted the Harveys’ open door. The girls and their parents, Bryan and Kathryn Harvey, were found in the basement of their burning home, bound, beaten and stabbed, with their throats cut.

Gray also confessed to participating in the killing of 21-year-old Ashley Baskerville, her mother, Mary Baskerville-Tucker, and stepfather, Percyell Tucker, in their Richmond home less than a week later, but wasn’t tried in that case. Gray and Dandridge said Ashley Baskerville had served as a lookout for them during the Harvey slayings.

Kathryn Harvey was co-owner of a popular Richmond toy store, the World of Mirth, and Bryan Harvey was a guitarist and singer for the rock duo House of Freaks. Perycell Tucker was a forklift operator and Mary Baskerville-Tucker worked at a dry cleaner.

Gray had asked McAuliffe to commute his sentence to life in prison — the same sentence given to Dandridge, who pleaded guilty to the Baskerville-Tucker killings.

As a child, Gray was brutally beaten by his father with a PVC pipe and other objects and raped almost daily by his older brother, Gray’s attorneys say. They say Gray began using powerful drugs at a young age to deal with the emotional effects of that abuse. While Gray’s difficult childhood isn’t an excuse for his behavior, it provides an understanding of his actions that should have been afforded to jurors, the attorneys say.

In a statement released by his lawyers, Gray said “remorse is not a deep enough word” for how he feels.

“I’ve stolen Christmas, birthdays, and Easters, Thanksgivings, graduations, and weddings, children. There’s nothing I can do to make up for that,” Gray said. He added: “I’m sorry they had to be a victim of my despair.”

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