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Ricky Gray’s final day looms; federal court denies stay of execution

RICHMOND, Va. — The  Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals late Friday afternoon denied an emergency appeal for a stay of execution for convicted killer Ricky Gray.

Earlier this week Judge Henry Hudson denied a request from Gray’s attorneys to delay his execution. Gray’s legal team argued the lethal injection that will be used to execute Gray amounted to cruel and unusual punishment.

Gray’s execution is scheduled for January 18.

He is a central figure in one of the most horrific crime sprees the Richmond area has ever seen. Gray is on death row for the killings of Kathryn and Bryan Harvey and their two young daughters, Ruby, age 4, and Stella, age 9.  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.

Several groups have petitioned Governor Terry McAuliffe for executive clemency for Gray.

A video released recently by Virginians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty shows Gray apologizing for the deaths of the Harvey family.

It’s never left my mind, because I understand exactly what I took from the world by looking at my two sisters. I’m reminded each time I talk and see them that this is what I took from the world. You know, the potential for greatness in those kids.

The 18-minute video also examines the impact of the severe childhood sexual abuse Gray suffered, and the group argued that the jury never heard testimony detailing the abuse, nor did they hear about the drug use that ensued from said abuse.

Gray’s lawyers requested that Governor McAuliffe commute Gray’s sentence to life in prison without parole — the same sentence the Commonwealth agreed to for Dandridge.

The ACLU also asked the governor for clemency.

In a letter to the governor, ACLU-VA Executive Director Claire Guthrie Gastañaga referred to the civil rights organization’s blanket opposition to the death penalty, calling it “demonstrably ineffective and cruel and unusual punishment that should not be imposed in a just society, particularly where the penalty is applied arbitrarily and the procedure itself is inhumane.” She suggested Gray’s sentence be commuted to life in prison.