- The Washington Times - Monday, December 18, 2006

RICHMOND — An Arlington man sentenced to death earlier this year for the grisly murders of a Richmond family has been charged with the slaying of a Culpeper woman, exactly one year after she was found dead in her home.

Ricky Jovan Gray, 29, was indicted by a grand jury yesterday on a charge of first-degree murder in the death of Sheryl Warner, Culpeper Commonwealth’s Attorney Gary Close said. Mrs. Warner, 37, was found shot and hanged by an electrical cord in her burning basement on Dec. 18, 2005.

“It was a relief that the grand jury handed down the indictment,” said Mrs. Warner’s sister, Ellen Embrey, 40, of Culpeper. “We’re just going to have to take it one step at a time this year.”

Gray, 29, was convicted in August of the New Year’s Day murders of musician Bryan Harvey, 49; his wife, Kathryn, 39; and daughters Stella, 9, and Ruby, 4. They were found in the basement of their burning home — bound, beaten with a hammer and stabbed, with their throats cut.

Gray and his nephew, Ray Joseph Dandridge, also of Arlington, killed the Harveys as part of a violent rampage that included the slaying of a second Richmond family less than one week later.

Dandridge, also 29, pleaded guilty in September to three counts of capital murder for the Jan. 6 killings of Percyell Tucker, 55; his wife, Mary Baskerville-Tucker, 47; and her daughter, Ashley Baskerville, 21. The victims’ faces were bound in duct tape, and the parents’ throats were cut. They slowly suffocated. The men said Miss Baskerville was an accomplice in the Harvey slayings.

As part of a plea deal, Dandridge received a sentence of life in prison.

Mr. Close declined to release any additional details, including whether Dandridge was also a suspect in the Warner slaying or whether additional charges were pending. Gray is scheduled to appear in Culpeper Circuit Court Jan. 3.

Sheriff H. Lee Hart also declined to release additional details, only saying, “We’ve been looking at Mr. Gray for some time.”

Mrs. Warner was on the phone with her father the night she was killed when a man knocked on her door, asking to use her phone, Mrs. Embrey said. Mrs. Warner told her father that she would call him back in a few minutes, then hung up, Mrs. Embrey said.

When her father didn’t hear back from her and she didn’t answer his calls, he called Mrs. Embrey. When Mrs. Embrey, too, failed to reach her sister, she called the police. Officials discovered her body soon after.

Ted Bruns, who represented Gray at trial, said he was not sure whether he would be appointed to represent Gray in this case.

“I’ve made myself available if the court up there wants to appoint me,” he said.

Mrs. Warner was the mother of three children — ages 9, 11, and 14, Mrs. Embrey said. They are now living with their father.

Gray also confessed to the Nov. 5 killing of his 35-year-old wife, Treva Terrell Gray, in Washington, Pa., about 20 miles south of Pittsburgh. In his confession, Gray said he beat his wife to death in their bed with a pipe while Dandridge held her down.

Gray and Dandridge told police that they were looking for a house to rob on New Year’s Day when they noticed that the Harveys’ front door was open. After the murders, they fled with a computer, Mr. Harvey’s wedding ring and a basket of cookies.

In September, both men pleaded guilty to aggravated malicious wounding and robbery and were sentenced to 25 years in prison for the New Year’s Eve slashing assault of an Arlington man. Gray broke two knives off in Ryan Carey, who was hospitalized for two months after the assault. The 26-year-old lost all use of his right arm, and his body was left horribly scarred.

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