- Published: 27 October 2008
Raymond Gray MDOC #135481
2400 S. Sheridan Drive
Muskegon, MI 49442
Note: Prisoners are often moved. In order to make sure you have the current address, you may wan to go to http://mdocweb.state.mi.us/OTIS2/otis2.html. Click the "I agree" button at the bottom of the page. Place the MDOC number in the field and select Search. Click on the name and you will see where he is located.
Taken from the AIDWYC Journal, Summer 2010. Written by Sal Caramanna
In 1973, Raymond Gray’s life and career could not have been brighter. Ray knew his calling. As a talented young artist, Ray enrolled in a fine arts program and was preparing to take his career to the next level. He never made it to his first class. What happened to Ray is the stuff of nightmares, a Kafkaesque tale that sadly has played out far too many times in the justice system.
In 1973 Detroit, in a city overwhelmed by crime and one of the highest homicide rates in the USA, investigation of felonies was more about closing the books than solving the misdeed. On February 6, 1973 two men burst into the home of Ruben Bryant. The men believed Bryant was a drug dealer and were looking to rob Bryant of his money and drugs. Things went awry and Bryant was shot and killed.
Accused, charged, tried and convicted of this crime that he did not commit, Ray has not tasted freedom since the day of his arrest – over 38 years. Although he has been held physically captive, his spirit, passion for life and art have not been muted. Ray’s art speaks the message of a man not embittered, a man with faith that the truth will one day be revealed.
Virtually all of the usual suspects of wrongful conviction causes aligned to cut Ray down in the prime of his life: police tunnel vision, police corruption, faulty crime scene investigation, faulty identification procedures, suppressed evidence, failure to investigate other suspects.
How was Ray linked to the crime? His ex-girlfriend went to Bryant’s home to buy drugs minutes before the invaders burst in. All the while, Ray was at home – four alibi witnesses confirmed this at his trial. Her behaviour in the home led the surviving occupants to conclude – quite reasonably – that she was in cahoots with the invaders. None of the surviving occupants claimed to be able to identify either of the invaders on the night in question. This changed however by the time of trial likely due to the influence of the deceased’s brother, a freshly minted Detroit police cadet, devastated by his brother’s slaying. He embarked on a mission to avenge his brother’s murder. When he learned of the ex-girlfriend’s involvement, he focused in on her ex-boyfriend. The rest of the story is the tragedy of a vibrant life relegated to a sentence of life of confinement. Come trial time, Ray would be identified by the two surviving adult occupants and his alibi would be rejected by the trial judge after only 15 minutes of deliberation.
The International Review Committee at the Association in Defense of the Wrongly Convicted is actively working on gathering evidence to mount an application to review his conviction in State Court. Officials from Proving Innocence and Humanity for Prisoners are also a part of the team. Although all involved graciously donate their time to help free Ray, we still require funds to help with investigation and legal costs.
March 2010 Update
Ray Gray's 5 year review was scheduled for September, but came up with little warning, making it difficult for his representation, AIDWYC, to lend it's support, but they managed to get a letter of support to the MDOC just in time.
The process is that if he passes the review, he will then be given a "commutation interview" with only one non-lawyer present for support. Then, if he passes that, a regular parole hearing will be scheduled.
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