A judge in Richmond today has ruled against a request to delay the execution of murderer Ricky Gray on the grounds lethal injection is cruel and unusual punishment. Judge Henry Hudson ruled against the motion for injunctive relief, meaning that Gray’s execution remains set for January 18.
Gray’s lawyers argued the drug cocktail using midazolam and potassium chloride has never been used before. Midazolam is a sedative that in high doses can kill.
But the defense argues that if it’s contaminated in any way, it could lead to a painful death that is cruel or unusual. The Commonwealth argued the drugs are made by companies that meet federal and state regulations and were never cited for any violations.
Lawyers in the Gray case laid out their cases in court last week. Gray, who was convicted of killing the Harvey family on New Year’s Day in 2006, argued that the drugs to be used on Gray would “cause him severe and unnecessary pain.”
In letters written to the prison system, Gray called Virginia’s execution process a violation of his constitutional rights and would prefer to die before a firing squad. It’s been more than a decade since the brutal murders of Bryan and Kathryn Harvey, and their daughters, Stella and Ruby inside their home New Year’s Day 2006.