"And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God"
-- Micah 6:8

"The duty of the prosecutor is to seek justice, not merely to convict."
-- American Bar Association Standard 3-1.2(c)

"There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia."
--Pope Benedict XVI, June 2004

Friday, August 18, 2006

"I Just Want to Die"

So said Ricky Gray to a police detective during an interview about his involvement in the slaughter of the Harvey family in Richmond: Bryan, 49, Kathryn, 39, Stella, 9, and Ruby, 4.

Hopefully a Richmond jury will grant him his wish. Yesterday they convicted him of five counts of capital murder and today his sentencing hearing continues.

On New Years' Day, 2006 Gray and an accomplice entered the Harvey home and attacked the dad, Bryan Harvey, bound him with electrical cords and gagged him, then struck his head six times with a claw hammer.

Kathryn, the mom, was bound with clear packing tape. Her neck had been cut three times, but not fatally. She had been stabbed once in the back, and she had been struck at least a dozen times on the head.

Ruby, who was 4 years old and 36 pounds, had been bound. She had pink and green nail polish on her fingers. She had been stabbed through the throat and in the back, and died of a combination of those wounds and blunt force trauma to the head.

Stella, 9, had also been bound and gagged. She had six cuts to her neck and one severe stab wound that went through her throat to her esophagus. She had also been severely beaten on her head. She died of a combination of the blunt-force injury to her head and smoke inhalation from the fire that had been set in the house.

If this were all not enough to merit the death sentence, there's the fact that Gray also beat his wife to death in November of 2005; then on January 6, a few days after snuffing out the Harvey family, Gray and his buddy killed another Richmond family: Ashley Baskerville, 21, her mother, Mary Baskerville Tucker, 47, and Tucker's husband, Percyell Tucker, 57. And to top it all off, the night before killing the Harveys, the two robbed, beat and stabbed a man in Arlington County. He is the only survivor of this pair's campaign of terror. The motive in all cases was simply money.

His defense, apparently entirely geared to avoiding the death penalty? His attorney in the penalty phase has argued that "Gray was on PCP the day of the Harvey killings. He also said that Gray had suffered sexual abuse, was hyperactive, wet the bed, and was repeatedly beaten by his father with a horse strap."

Bed wetting and a bad childhood. If a jury finds that to be an adequate reason not to kill this monster, God help us all, because every bed-wetting victim of a bad childhood is then given a pass that the rest of us do not have for our conduct. This type of cheap, deterministic, devil-made-me-do-it defense is an insult to every one who has suffered just as much or more than Gray and somehow controlled their impulses and not killed eight people.

Here's hoping the jury values the lives of those poor eight victims enough to vindicate them by sentencing Gray to die.

3 comments:

123txpublicdefender123 said...

It doesn't seem to me that his lawyer is using a "devil-made-m-do-it defense" at all. Nor would giving him a life sentence be giving him "a pass," as you state. The purpose of a capital sentencing proceeding is to give the jury the aggravating and the mitigating factors, and let them decide, when considering those factors, what the appropriate sentence is. This man is not arguing that he should be found not guilty or not held responsible for the crimes. Or that he should just walk out of the courthouse with no consequence. The issue is whether, considering whatever the issues related to his childhood and his substance abuse were, should he be given the ultimate punishment of death. Personally, I think that evidence of severe, persistent child abuse* is a strong mitigating factor. That doesn't mean that in a particular case, however, that the brutality and heinous nature of the crime might not outweigh that factor. But, that doesn't mean the jury shouldn't be aware of those things when deciding on his sentence--the same way they will be aware of all the bad stuff he has done in his life. I think you do a disservice to the process snd the debate when you mischaracterize what an attorney who represents someone in a capital case is doing by presenting this mitigating evidence in the sentencing phase.

(*I don't know if the abuse suffered by this particular defendant was severe or persistent.)

faithmy said...

pass me some diapers and a knife....Im going on the town tonight!

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Valerie Reaves