RICHMOND, Va. -- Ricky Gray's execution is scheduled to take place in two weeks. Tuesday, Judge Henry Hudson heard evidence and testimony from more than half a dozen witnesses including two doctors following a motion filed by Ricky Gray's attorneys.
Lawyers for the man involved in the murders of two Richmond families argued that the lethal injection that would be used to kill Gray amounts to"cruel punishment."
They point to one of the drugs that would be used, called Midazolam, which they say would result in "chemical torture" and that administering the drug would violate Ricky Gray's constitutional rights or cruel and unusual punishment.
"We understand that the state… and the people have an interest in resolving this. But by the same token Mr. Gray and everyone should have an interest in have a form of execution that meets Constitutional muster. That's really been the focus of our challenge," said Lisa Fried, attorney for Ricky Gray.
The Virginia Attorney General's Office countered by saying the execution drugs have been independently tested and verified, and do not have substantial risk of severe pain.
They say the department of Corrections has medically trained staff specializing in executions.
Gray is a central figure in one of the most horrific crime sprees the Richmond area has ever seen.
Ricky Gray is a convicted murderer currently on death row for the killings of Kathryn and Bryan Harvey and their two young daughters in South Richmond in 2006.
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 attorneys believe a firing squad would be a more viable option because it is quick and more effective.
The federal judge is expected to make a ruling early next week.
Gray is scheduled to be put to death on January 18.