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Richmond killer should not endure ‘chemical torture’ lawyers argue

RICHMOND, Va. — Lawyers for the man who killed members of two Richmond families argue Ricky Gray’s January 2017 execution will violate his Constitutional rights.

Gray lawyers filed a complaint for declaratory judgement Wednesday in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia asking a judge to delay Gray’s January 18 execution based on the chemicals the Virginia Department of Corrections (VDOC) will use in the execution.

“The risk of chemical torture is a violation of Mr. Gray’s Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel punishment. The veil of secrecy that the VDOC has pulled across the details surrounding how Mr. Gray is to be executed is a violation of Mr. Gray’s Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment right to Procedural Due Process,” his legal team wrote in the court document.

His lawyers claim the three-drug cocktail the VDOC uses to knockout and then execute inmates “have on numerous occasions not operated as intended.”

“Instead, the first drug has sometimes failed to adequately sedate the inmate, who subsequently has endured the torturous effects of the second and third drugs while aware of what was happening. And recently, disturbing details have emerged about the specific drugs that the VDOC intends to use to kill Mr. Gray, which as explained herein increase the risk that he will be executed by a constitutionally intolerable method,” his lawyers argued.

Click here to read the entire court document.

Gray is a central figure in one of the most horrific crime sprees the Richmond area has ever seen.

He has spent a decade on death row after he was convicted of murdering Bryan and Kathryn Harvey, and their daughters Stella and Ruby.

On New Year’s Day 2006, the Harveys were found bound, beaten, and stabbed inside the basement of their Woodland Heights home. The home was also set on fire.

Gray was also involved, though not convicted, in the murders of Ashley Baskerville, 21; her mother, Mary Tucker, 47; and stepdad, Percyell Tucker, 55.

His accomplice, Ray Dandridge, was convicted in the Tucker-Baskerville murders and is serving a life-prison sentence.

Gray’s January 18 execution date was set in November.

This is a developing story.