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Ricky Javon Gray - Virginia Execution - January 18, 2017
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Thread: Ricky Javon Gray - Virginia Execution - January 18, 2017

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    Ricky Javon Gray - Virginia Execution - January 18, 2017


    Bryan and Kathryn Harvey and their two daughters, from left, Ruby,4 and Stella,9
    were found on New Year’s Day in their burning Richmond home with their throats slit.




    Summary of Offense:

    Born on March 9, 1977 and sentenced to death in the City of Richmond on October 23, 2006.

    On January 1, 2006, four-year-old Ruby Harvey died from stab wounds to her back, one of which punctured her lung, while her nine-year-old sister Stella died from smoke inhalation and blunt-force trauma to the head; in addition, five others were murdered by Gray and an accomplice, including Ruby and Stella's parents, Bryan, 49, and Kathryn, 39.

    Firefighters called to West 31st Street that morning found the house filled with smoke and the bodies of Kathryn and Ruby in the basement.

    Police were called and Stella’s body was found under a futon in the basement with her hands behind her back and tape on her mouth. Bryan was found on the basement floor with electrical cord wrapped around his hands and feet and melted tape around his face.

    Bryan had been cut eight times in his neck and under his chin, his mouth was gagged and taped and his skull was struck six times with hammer blows that killed him. Kathryn was cut in her neck, chest and back and also killed by hammer blows in the head.

    Ruby’s throat was cut to her trachea; she was stabbed in the back and her head was fractured and cut, causing brain tissue to exude from her skull. Stella’s neck was cut six times and her head bludgeoned by a hammer.

    Gray and Ray Dandridge, later sentenced to life, decided to rob the Harvey’s house and forced the parents and Ruby into the basement. When Stella arrived from a friend’s house, she, too, was brought to the basement and bound.

    Gray took a knife and, starting with Kathryn, cut everyone’s throats. When he saw the family members were still moving, he took a claw hammer and began beating them in the head. When they stopped moving, Gray set a fire and he and Dandridge fled the house.

    On January 6, police found the bodies of Ashley Baskerville, 21, the getaway driver in the Harvey murders; her mother, Mary Baskerville Tucker, 47; and her husband Percyell Tucker, 55, in their home on East Broad Rock Road in South Richmond. Gray and Dandridge had suffocated them. The next day, Gray and Dandridge were arrested by a SWAT team in Philadelphia.

    He later admitted he also killed his wife, Treva Gray, in 2005, in Washington, Pennsylvania.

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    Charges suspended against Gray

    Murder suspect Ricky Jovan Gray will return to the area this morning at 9:30 for a motion in Culpeper County Circuit Court.

    Gray, 29, faces a capital murder charge for the death of Reva resident Sherri Warner, the 37-year-old legal secretary and mother of three who was found hanged with an electrical cord in her burning basement Dec. 18, 2005.

    Gray was also arrested and charged with abduction, possession of a firearm after being a convicted felon, use of a firearm in a felony and attempted arson in connection with the Warner case.

    Culpeper County Sheriff’s Office deputies will transport Gray from a Sussex County prison where he’s on death row for the January 2006 Richmond slayings of Stella Harvey, 9, and Ruby Harvey, 4.

    In addition to the death penalty, Gray is serving a life sentence for the murders of their parents: Bryan, 49, and Kathryn, 39.

    Gray’s 10-day jury trial is set for Sept. 29 at 9:30 a.m. in Culpeper County Circuit Court.

    Charges against convicted murderer Ricky Jovan Gray, accused in the 2005 killing a Reva woman, were indefinitely suspended Wednesday afternoon, putting the case against him here to an end for now.

    The capital murder charge Gray faced was suspended under a nolle prosequi motion supported by the defense and the prosecution. Under such a motion, the charges are not dismissed. Instead, they may be reintroduced in the future, said Commonwealth’s Attorney Gary Close in a statement. Circuit Court Judge John R. Cullen accepted the joint motion.

    Three other felony charges—attempted arson, using a firearm in the commission of a felony and being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm were also suspended.

    Warner’s mother Betty Embry and other family members were present in court, but declined to comment following the hearing.

    Gray, 30, first entered a not guilty plea in the murder of 37-year-old Sherri Warner in January 2007. His trial was originally set to begin that October, but was postponed at the request of the defense counsel. It was then scheduled for February of this year, but Gray won a request for new defense attorneys and the trial—which was expected to take 10 days—was rescheduled again to Sept. 29.

    During Wednesday’s hearing, which lasted about 10 minutes, Close cited several reasons for temporarily setting the case aside. They include recently returned DNA evidence—a hair—found at the crime scene that does not match Gray, an ongoing investigation by the Culpeper County Sheriff’s Office that has uncovered new evidence and cell phone records that “merited further investigation.”

    In February, Timothy Thomas, a Cumberland County prison inmate, testified that Gray’s girlfriend Ashley Baskerville had implicated Gray in Warner’s Dec. 18, 2005 murder. Gray is accused of killing Baskerville also. But Cullen threw the testimony out at a March 12 hearing, ruling that the prosecution had not established his statements as reliable. Cullen also said a “mental or physical impairment” may prevent Thomas from establishing an accurate timeline of events.

    “The commonwealth has felt that the statements of Ashley Baskerville, Ricky Gray’s self-described accomplice was important for obtaining a conviction,” Close said. “The court overruled the commonwealth’s motion to allow Timothy Thomas to testify about Ashley Baskerville’s statements.”

    Gray is already on death row for the January 1, 2006 murders of Richmond residents Stella, 9 and Ruby Harvey, 4. He is also serving a life sentence for the murders of their parents, Bryan, 49 and Kathryn, 39. Dressed in a blue prison uniform, shackled, and heavily guarded by sheriff’s deputies in the courtroom, Gray did not speak during the hearing.

    Gray’s defense attorney Joseph T. Flood praised Close for providing insight into evidence related to this case.

    “On behalf of Ricky Gray and his family, we are relieved by the commonwealth’s attorney’s decision to nolle prosequi these charges and effectively end this capital prosecution,” Flood said in a statement. “This conclusion represents a deliberate and thoughtful response to compelling evidence showing Mr. Gray is innocent of killing Sherri Warner.

    “While today’s decision relieves Mr. Gray of the burden of a unwarranted capital trial, justice for Ms. Warner’s family and this community requires that the real murderer be held to account.”

    Close said that the case would remain open and he will continue to meet regularly with investigators, using football to explain the next step.

    “The best analogy is when a team is on its own 30 yard line and its 4th and 20—you punt. It is not the end of the game—it is merely a punt for better field position.”

    http://www2.starexponent.com/cse/news/local/crime/article/charges_suspended_against_gray/16518/

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    April 17, 2007

    Va. Supreme Court hears Gray's appeal

    A law allowing the death penalty for a person 21 or older who kills a child younger than 14 is arbitrary and unconstitutional, a lawyer for the man convicted of killing a Richmond family told the Virginia Supreme Court yesterday.

    Attorney Theodore D. Bruns urged the court to overturn Ricky Javon Gray's death sentence stemming from the New Year's Day 2006 slayings of Bryan and Kathryn Harvey and their daughters, Stella, 9, and Ruby, 4.

    Gray was convicted of five counts of capital murder: killing more than one person in a three-year period, killing more than one person as part of the same act, killing someone during a robbery or attempted robbery, and two counts of killing a child younger than 14 by someone at least 21 years old. He was sentenced to death on the latter two counts.

    Bruns told the Supreme Court that the provision that resulted in Gray's death sentence violates the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution because it "creates an arbitrary distinction between offenders based on age."

    He said the state had "no rational basis" for providing a harsher punishment for a 21-year-old who kills a child and a 20-year-old who commits a similar, perhaps even more heinous, crime.

    But Matthew Dullaghan, senior assistant attorney general, said the General Assembly is entitled to great deference in deciding such matters after weighing the public-policy benefits of protecting children and punishing adult criminals.

    Gray and his nephew, Ray Joseph Dandridge, both of Arlington County, killed the Harveys as part of a violent rampage that included the slaying of a second Richmond family less than a week later. Dandridge pleaded guilty to three counts of capital murder in the second case and was sentenced to life in prison.

    Gray also is scheduled to stand trial in October in the slaying of Sheryl Warner, 37, of Culpeper.

    http://www2.timesdispatch.com/news/2...172-ar-205036/

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    June 9, 2007

    Court upholds Gray conviction

    The Virginia Supreme Court yesterday affirmed the five capital murder convictions and two death sentences imposed on Ricky Javon Gray for the murders of the Harvey family last year.

    A Richmond Circuit Court jury in August convicted Gray in the New Year's Day murders of Bryan and Kathryn Harvey and their daughters Stella, 9, and Ruby, 4.

    The two death sentences were for the killings of the little girls, under the section of Virginia law that makes it capital murder for someone at least 21 years old to deliberately kill a child younger than 14. For his three other capital-murder convictions, Gray was sentenced to life in prison.

    In a hearing in April, lawyer Theodore D. Bruns argued for Gray that the state had no rational basis for allowing a harsher penalty for a 21-year-old offender than for a 20-year-old who commits a similar crime that could even be more heinous.

    Bruns argued that the statute violates Gray's right to equal protection under law because it is an arbitrary distinction between offenders based on age.

    Matthew Dullaghan, senior assistant attorney general, argued at the hearing and in court papers that the statute applies the death penalty to defendants who are older and therefore are held to be more responsible for their actions.

    He also argued that the law applies the death penalty to defendants "who have a decreased peer relationship with the child victim and thus an increased predatory relationship."

    Both of those ideas make for a rational basis for enacting the law with a legitimate governmental purpose behind it, the commonwealth argued.

    The court agreed.

    Writing the opinion, Justice G. Ste- ven Agee said there is a rational basis for the law. He pointed out that other Virginia laws make age distinctions between adults in similar situations.

    "A 21-year-old commits no crime by purchasing an alcoholic beverage," Agee wrote, "but a 20-year-old commits a Class One misdemeanor if that individual makes such a purchase."

    Gray and his nephew, Ray Joseph Dandridge, were accused of taking part in the Harvey murders and in the Jan. 6 murders of Mary Tucker, her husband, Percyell Tucker, and Mary Tucker's daughter, Ashley Baskerville. Both families were killed in their South Richmond homes.

    Dandridge went to trial for the Tucker-Baskerville murders but pleaded guilty mid-trial to capital murder, with a plea-agreement sentence of life with no release.

    Gray and Dandridge also pleaded guilty in Arlington County to aggravated malicious wounding and robbery for stabbing and beating a man there on New Year's Eve, the day before the Richmond murders. Both lived in Arlington.

    Gray is scheduled for trial in October for the killing of Sheryl Warner, 37, in Culpeper on Dec. 18, 2005.

    He also confessed to killing his wife, Treva Terrell Gray, 35, in Pennsylvania in November 2005. That brings to nine the number of deaths police attribute to Gray during a three-month period.

    http://www2.timesdispatch.com/news/2...164-ar-194238/

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    September 27, 2007

    Gray's trial in Culpeper death delayed

    The trial of a man already on death row for the murders of a Richmond family and now facing a capital-murder charge for the slaying of a Culpeper woman has been delayed.
    Ricky Javon Gray, 30, had been scheduled to go on trial Oct. 29 in the killing of Sheryl Warner. But yesterday, Culpeper County Circuit Judge John Cullen rescheduled the trial for Feb. 4 after Gray's attorney, Jeffrey Everhart, asked for more time to prepare.

    The defense recently received phone records that they believe indicate Gray couldn't have been present during Warner's slaying, Everhart said. They wanted more time to review the records, he said.

    Warner, 37, was found hanging by an electrical cord in her burning basement on Dec. 18, 2005. She is the ninth person authorities believe Gray killed during a rampage between November 2005 and January 2006.

    Warner was on the phone with her father shortly before she was killed when a man came to her door and asked to use her phone, family members have said. When Warner did not answer her father's calls later that day, authorities went to her house and discovered her body.

    Last year, Gray was sentenced to death for the 2006 New Year's Day slayings of musician Bryan Harvey, 49; his wife, Kathryn, 39; and daughters Stella, 9, and Ruby, 4.

    http://www2.timesdispatch.com/news/2...169-ar-182557/

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    January 1, 2008

    Moving on, but not forgetting

    The home-invasion slayings of the Harvey family in Woodland Heights two years ago destroyed a family but did not break the spirit of this South Richmond neighborhood.

    Since then, the community has revitalized its Neighborhood Watch program and is working to have the neighborhood receive state and national historic designations. Residents also are involved in an effort to have the old Patrick Henry Elementary School designated as a charter school, and the recent Christmas home tour was judged a success.

    Meanwhile, a new couple has moved into the Harvey home, where musician Bryan Harvey, 49; his wife, Kathryn, 39; and their two children, Stella, 9, and Ruby, 4, were murdered on Jan. 1, 2006.

    As for the crime, "it's something we don't like to talk about," said Lee Shewmake, president of the Woodland Heights Civic Association. She and her family have lived in the neighborhood 10 years.

    Although those who knew the Harveys or learned of them after their deaths want to get on with their lives, they don't want to forget the family.

    Ruby's Run -- an annual series of children's races -- was established to raise money for the Ruby Harvey Memorial Scholarship Fund at Second Presbyterian Child Care Center, where Ruby attended pre-school. Stella was a pupil at Fox Elementary School.

    Off to one side near the entrance to the World of Mirth, the gift shop at 3005 W. Cary St. that Kathryn Harvey co-owned, is a small display case featuring Harvey family photos and mementos.

    Stephen Tarrant lives across the street from what was the Harvey home on 31st Street. A young couple bought the house last summer, he said.

    "There is new life in the house," Tarrant said. "It's vibrant."

    The couple did not respond to requests for an interview.

    Tarrant and several other Woodland Heights residents said they have heard of no one who has moved from the neighborhood -- it's just 10 minutes from downtown -- because of the murders.

    Michael Boykin, who lives on Semmes Avenue a few blocks from the former Harvey house, said the slayings have brought an already close neighborhood closer.

    Boykin was in charge of last month's neighborhood house tour. The murders never came up, he said.

    He has no plans to leave Woodland Heights but says he is a little more cautious when going about the neighborhood and little more observant of the strangers passing through. He pays more attention when the neighborhood dogs bark.

    "The house tour got a lot of people to come out and to see [the neighborhood] as we saw it," Shewmake said. "It's a really quiet neighborhood where people walk their dogs and take walks. The tour showed why the Harveys loved being here."

    . . .

    Woodland Heights covers a large area, Shewmake said. It lies between West 24th and West 34th streets. The James River forms its northern boundary, and Bainbridge and Porter streets make its southern boundary. Woodland Heights showed up on a city map in the 1890s, Shewmake said.

    Gina Wojtysiak is the mother of a 2-year-old and is expecting a second child. She's part of the effort to establish a charter school in the old Patrick Henry School on Semmes Avenue.

    She and her husband plan to stay in Woodland Heights. She did not know the Harveys.

    "This could have happened in any part of the city," Wojtysiak said.

    Shewmake said the Patrick Henry charter-school project and the effort to get state and national historic designation for Woodland Heights are tough challenges.

    However, she described her Woodland Heights neighbors as a "group of great people who don't mind tackling problems."

    Tackled problems, she said, have included cleaning up alleys, carting off bulk trash, and fixing potholes.

    "Yes, we could call the city and get put on a list," she said, adding that the neighbors are accustomed to doing for themselves.

    . . .

    After the killings, J.B. Gregg took it upon himself to rejuvenate the neighborhood's almost moribund Neighborhood Watch. He recruited block-captain volunteers, set up a Web site devoted specifically to the watch, and organized neighborhood anti-crime events.

    "My primary objective as an active community citizen was to do something affirmative for the Harveys," he said. "It was our own 9/11."

    The reluctance to dwell on the Harveys may lie in part in the horrific nature of their deaths at the hands of Ricky Javon Gray and Ray Joseph Dandridge.

    The neighborhood, and especially those who knew the Harveys, had a hard time coping with the news coverage of the case, Shewmake said.

    "It was kind of overwhelming," she said, recalling the parade of television trucks and other news media that descended on the normally quiet neighborhood.

    http://www2.timesdispatch.com/news/2...011-ar-171946/

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    January 1, 2008

    Two men were on killing rampage

    Ricky Javon Gray and Ray Joseph Dandridge were in the midst of a killing rampage two years ago when they walked through the Harvey family's open front door.

    The rampage included nine murders and one very close call for an Arlington County man.

    It began in western Pennsylvania after Gray was released from a Virginia prison, where he had served 11 years for robbery. Gray confessed to police that he killed his wife in Washington, Pa., on Nov. 5, 2005. Dandridge, who is Gray's nephew, helped him dispose of Treva Terrell Gray's body.

    Gray also admitted to hanging and shooting Sheryl Warner, 37, of Culpeper in her basement on Dec. 18, 2005. He is scheduled to stand trial Sept. 9 in the Warner case on a variety of charges, including capital murder.

    On the day the Harveys were murdered, "We was looking for a house to rob," Gray told authorities. "We spotted an open door."

    They forced the family to the basement, where they tied Bryan Harvey with an extension cord and taped Kathryn Harvey, Stella and Ruby. Dandridge went upstairs "and started looking for things," Gray said.

    The killing began.

    "Now that I think about it, it was a real nasty scene," Gray recounted. "I started cuttin' their throats and they kept getting' up and they was scaring me. I remember seeing the hammer and picking it up and then I don't know who I hit first. I was just hittin' them all with the hammer. All I know is nobody was moving when I left out of there."

    Gray admitted to a probation officer that he cut first Kathryn, then the two girls and finally Bryan Harvey.

    About 12 hours before the Harveys were slashed and beaten to death Jan. 1, 2006, Gray and Dandridge stabbed and beat a 26-year-old Arlington man nearly to death. They confessed to the attack and were sentenced to 25 years each in prison.

    On Jan. 6, five days after the Harvey killings, police found the bodies of Percyell Tucker, 55, and his wife, Mary Baskerville Tucker, 47, and her daughter, Ashley Baskerville, 21, in their home at 3408 E. Broad Rock Road in South Richmond. Gray and Dandridge had suffocated them.

    Baskerville had fallen in with Gray and Dandridge. On New Year's Day, she waited in a van parked outside the Harvey home as Gray murdered the family.

    Gray received two death sentences for killing the Harvey children, Stella and Ruby. He also was sentenced to three life terms without parole on other capital-murder charges stemming from the Harvey killings.

    The Virginia Supreme Court rejected his appeal, but he continues to contest the case.

    Gray was not tried for the Tucker/Baskerville killings but would have been had he not been sentenced to die in the Harvey case. Now 30, he is on death row at Sussex I State Prison nearly Waverly in Sussex County.

    Dandridge, also 30, pleaded guilty to capital-murder charges in the Tucker/Baskerville and Harvey slayings. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole and is at the super-max Red Onion State Prison in Dickenson County, a few miles from the Kentucky state line.

    http://www2.timesdispatch.com/news/2...010-ar-171943/

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    June 5, 2008

    Murder charge against Harvey family killer Ricky Gray suspended

    Charges against death-row inmate Ricky Javon Gray, accused in the December 2005 killing of a Reva woman, were indefinitely suspended yesterday, putting the case against him here to an end for now.
    The capital-murder charge Gray faced in the death of 37-year-old Sherri Warner was suspended under a motion supported by the defense and the prosecution. That and three related charges may be reintroduced in the future, Commonwealth's Attorney Gary Close said in a statement. Circuit Judge John R. Cullen accepted the joint motion.

    Gray is already on death row for the Jan. 1, 2006, murders of Stella, 9, and Ruby Harvey, 4, of South Richmond. He is also serving a life sentence for the murders of their parents, Bryan and Kathryn Harvey.

    Dressed in a blue prison uniform, shackled and heavily guarded by sheriff's deputies, Gray did not speak during yesterday's 10-minute hearing.

    Warner's mother, Betty Embry, and other family members were in the courtroom but declined to comment afterward.

    Close cited several reasons for suspending the charges against Gray. They include recently returned DNA evidence found at the crime scene -- a hair -- that does not match Gray's.

    The testimony in question is that of Timothy Thomas, a Cumberland County prison inmate. Thomas testified in February that Gray's girlfriend, Ashley Baskerville, had implicated Gray in Warner's death. Gray is also accused of later killing Baskerville, who lived in South Richmond.

    Cullen threw the testimony out at a March 12 hearing.

    http://www2.timesdispatch.com/news/2...171-ar-130275/

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    July 30, 2008

    Murderer of Harvey family looks to Internet in search of pen pals

    Ricky Javon Gray is looking for friends.

    Gray, awaiting execution for murdering the Harvey family in the basement of their Richmond home on New Year's Day 2006, has had his contact information posted on a Web site soliciting potential pen pals.

    "I like to read. I play chess I'm into sports, but I'm reduced to just watching them on TV now," Gray tells potential correspondents on a site provided by Virginians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty.

    The group has posted profiles from several death-row inmates interested in corresponding with people on the outside.

    "Everyone enjoys being remembered at special times of the year," the group said. "Even if you are not interested in pursuing a pen-pal relationship, we hope you'll consider sending a greeting card to any of those on either of Virginia's Death Rows or to the men on Federal Death Row for crimes committed in Virginia."

    The group posts the address for Gray, who is being housed at the Sussex I State Prison in Waverly after being convicted of killing Bryan and Kathryn Harvey and their daughters, Stella, 9, and Ruby, 4. Authorities said Gray admitted slashing the throats of all four victims in their Woodland Heights home.

    Gray has been convicted on five counts of capital murder and faces two death sentences -- for killing the two girls.

    Gray and his nephew, Ray Joseph Dandridge, were accused of taking part in the Harvey murders and in the Jan. 6, 2006, murders of Mary Tucker, her husband, Percyell Tucker, and Mary Tucker's daughter, Ashley Baskerville, also in South Richmond.

    Coincidentally, Baskerville, who police say had served as a lookout during the Harvey slayings, had met Dandridge through a Web site for prison pen pals. "I'm an open minded and very romantic and understanding person," Dandridge said in his posting. "I believe in treating others as I want to be treated and respected in life."

    Dandridge pleaded guilty to capital murder, with a plea-agreement sentence of life with no release.

    Gray is one of nine inmates with profiles on the group's site.

    "The men and women who have placed their information on the site are simply letting us know that they are receptive to the idea of making new friends," the group's site says. "Who they write, when they write, and what they write is up to them."

    According to the Web site, it was founded in 1991 by 13 people who opposed the death penalty. It was originally called Virginians Against State Killing and changed its name a year later.

    Gray, now 31, tells potential pen pals he is particularly interested in religion, politics and books.

    Regarding the qualities he would like to find in a pen pal, Gray, who authorities believe was responsible for nine deaths over a three-month period, wrote:

    "Someone you can call a true friend."

    http://www2.timesdispatch.com/news/2...157-ar-126281/

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    August 1, 2008

    Group removes link to online pen-pal recruitment for death-row inmates

    A group opposing the death penalty has removed from its Web site a link to information seeking pen pals for Ricky Javon Gray and other Virginia death-row inmates.

    Virginians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty removed the link from its site after the Richmond Times-Dispatch published a story about the program in Wednesday's paper.

    The story prompted a flood of telephone calls and e-mails to the newspaper, as well as nine pages of reader reaction comments posted on the paper's Web site. Most of the reaction was critical of Gray for seeking pen pals or critical of the paper for detailing the efforts of him and the death-penalty opponents to find someone to correspond with him while he awaits execution for murdering four members of the Harvey family in South Richmond on New Year's Day 2006.

    Virginians for Alternatives released a statement dated Wednesday that said, in part: "Our media outlets would better serve the public and the greater good by writing informed and thoughtful pieces about these serious public policy issues rather than writing trivial articles intent upon raising strong emotions without other redeeming value."

    Later, the group removed the link from its site.

    The profiles and mailing addresses of Gray and eight other death-row inmates interested in corresponding with people on the outside can still be accessed through a Google search

    http://www2.timesdispatch.com/news/2...230-ar-124126/

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