Virginia executes man who killed House of Freaks singer and his family

Virginia has executed a man convicted of killing two young girls and their parents, one of whom was a during a New Year's Day home invasion more than 11 years ago.

Ricky Gray, 39, participated in the killings of 7 in the first days of 2006

In this Jan. 3, 2007, file photo, Ricky Gray is escorted from the county courthouse in Culpeper, Va. Gray was put to death for the murders of Stella and Ruby Harvey. The girls and their parents, Bryan and Kathryn Harvey, were slain in their home after enduring hours of terror. (Mike Morones/The Free Lance-Star via AP)

Virginia has executed a man convicted of killing two young girls and their parents during a New Year's Day home invasion more than 11 years ago.

Authorities say 39-year-old Ricky Gray was pronounced dead at 9:42 p.m. Wednesday following a lethal injection at the Greensville Correctional Center in Jarratt, Va.

Asked if he had any last words, he responded, "Nope."

Gray was sentenced to death for the slayings of nine-year-old Stella Harvey and her four-year-old sister Ruby. Gray also was convicted of killing their parents, Bryan and Kathryn Harvey. The family was attacked when their front door was open as they prepared to hold a holiday party.

All were found in their burning home in Richmond, bound, beaten, stabbed and with their throats cut.

The well-known family's slaying rocked Virginia's capital city and was followed by the killing of another Richmond family less than a week later.

In this May 17, 1996 file photo Kathryn and Bryan Harvey pose in their store in Richmond, Va. (Alexa Welch Edlund/Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP)

Bryan Harvey, along with Johnny Hott, formed House of Freaks in the 1980s, a rare two-person rock group that predated the likes of White Stripes and The Black Keys. With Harvey as singer and guitarist, the band received college radio airplay and released four albums, including a major label release with Warner Bros.

Harvey then went on in the early 1990s to record two albums in the group Gutterball, which included members of Dream Syndicate, The Long Ryders and The Silos.

He continued playing in bands in his local area and had recently performed a gig hours before the slayings.

Kathryn Harvey was co-owner of a popular Richmond toy store, the World of Mirth.

The family was getting ready to host friends for a chili dinner when Gray and his nephew, Ray Dandridge, were looking for a home to rob and spotted their open front door. Court records show the men tied up the family in the basement and Gray slashed their throats and bashed their heads with a hammer before setting their home on fire and fleeing with a computer, a wedding ring and a basket of cookies.

Gray also confessed to participating in the slaying of 21-year-old Ashley Baskerville, her mother Mary Baskerville-Tucker and stepfather Percyell Tucker days after the Harvey deaths, but wasn't tried in that case. Gray and Dandridge said Ashley Baskerville had served as a lookout for them during the Harvey slayings.

Va. won't release drug provider details

Dandridge pleaded guilty to the Tucker-Baskerville slayings and is serving a life sentence.

Virginia officials said in advance that they planned to use midazolam and potassium chloride from a compounding pharmacy whose identity is secret under a new state law. Virginia would be the first state to use compounded midazolam or compounded potassium chloride, according to Gray's attorneys.

Grey's attorneys had challenged the state's lethal injection plan, saying that even a firing squad would be more humane. Midazolam has come under fire after several problematic executions in other states, with critics arguing that it causes inmates to suffer a painful death because it cannot reliably render them unconscious.

Gray's attorneys had asked the U.S. Supreme Court to put execution plans on hold so they could pursue a lethal injection challenge. But the high court earlier Wednesday evening denied the request without explanation in a one-sentence order.

Gray's lawyers had earlier asked Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe to spare the inmate's life, saying his actions were the result of drug use aimed at numbing years of sexual abuse by his older brother when he was a child. Gray says he was high on PCP at the time of the Harvey slayings and doesn't remember much.

McAuliffe said he found no reason to intervene, adding he believed Gray received a fair and impartial trial.


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