Supreme Court Denies Ricky Gray’s Final Execution Appeal

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Posted by Brandon Jarvis

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A Virginia man who confessed to the horrific drug-fueled murders of a couple and their two young daughters will be put to death Wednesday.  The Supreme Court was Gray’s last chance for an appeal but that was denied today.

Dozens of mental health experts appealed for clemency for Ricky Gray, arguing he had been damaged by a childhood filled with merciless beatings and rape, but Gov. Terry McAuliffe decided not to spare his life.

“It is the Governor’s responsibility to ensure that the laws of the Commonwealth are properly carried out unless circumstances merit a stay or commutation of the sentence,” McAuliffe said in a statement. “After extensive review and deliberation, I have found no such circumstances.” Ricky Gray is escorted from the county courthouse in Culpeper, Virginia, following his preliminary hearing in 2007. Mike Morones / The Free Lance-Star via AP

The governor’s denial means that Gray’s last chance lies with an appeal before the nation’s high court challenging Virginia’s use of the drug midazolam for his lethal injection, which is so controversial that Arizona has agreed to never use it again.

If that fails, Gray will become the second prisoner executed in the U.S. this year.

He was sentenced to death in connection with a 2006 quadruple murder of a well-known Richmond family — musician Bryan Harvey, wife Kathryn and their children, 9-year-old Stella and 4-year-old Ruby.

The crime began as a home-invasion robbery and ended in a paroxysm of unimaginable violence. Gray, in the midst of a PCP binge, cut the victims’ throats, then bludgeoned them before setting the house ablaze.

“They kept gettin’ up and they was scaring me,” Gray said in a confession played for the jury. “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.

Kathryn Harvey,Brian HarveyKathryn and Bryan Harvey pose in their store in Richmond, Virginia, on May 17, 1996. Alexa Welch / Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP

“All I know is, nobody was moving when I left out there.”

Gray also confessed to killing an acquaintance, Ashley Baskerville, and her parents a week after the Harvey murders but he was never tried for those killings.

As his execution approached, Gray issued a public apology.

“Remorse is not a deep enough word for how I feel,” he said in an audio recording. “I know my words can’t bring anything back, but I continuously feel horrible for the circumstances I put them through. I robbed them of a lifelong supply of joy. I’ve stolen Christmases, birthdays and Easters, Thanksgivings, graduations, weddings, children.

“There’s nothing I can do to make up for that.”

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