Harvey family killer sentenced to death
After more than 12 hours of deliberation, the jury in the Harvey trial has handed down a death sentence to Ricky Javon Gray, the Richmond Times Dispatch reports. According to the report, the jury indicated that it was the killing of the young Harvey daughters, Stella and Ruby, that tipped the scales.
On August 17, the jury took only 30 minutes to convict Gray of the horrible crime, but this morning when the jurors reconvened they were still undecided about whether Gray should be sentenced to death. Under Virginia state law, they had to reach a unanimous decision to impose the death penalty. If they hadn’t reached a decision, the sentence would have become life in prison without parole. Jurors listened to dramatic closing arguments and spent six hours deliberating on Monday, August 21 before being sent home for the evening.
Some jurors were in tears during the day, according to press reports, as Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Learned Barry showed cheerful family pictures of the Harvey’s and shouted, “For God’s sake! You give him death for killing these children!”
Defense attorney Jeffrey Everhart fired back by pleading for mercy, reminding jurors of Gray’s mother’s testimony that her son had been physically and sexually abused as a child, and that it wasn’t “about leveling the scales.” In the end, he asked the jury to avoid the “knee-jerk, visceral”Šhe killed, kill him!” reaction.
On Tuesday, according to various news reports, jurors looked “weary and frustrated” as they arrived.
“This is probably the most difficult thing you’ve ever done,” Judge Beverly W. Snukals told the jury as she read their findings, the RTD reports. “Probably for me, too.