Monday, January 9, 2006

PHILADELPHIA — Two men arrested in the killings of seven persons in their Richmond homes agreed yesterday to be sent back to Virginia to face murder-conspiracy charges.

Ray Joseph Dandridge and Ricky Jovan Gray, both 28, were captured Saturday in Philadelphia on charges stemming from the killings, which included the deaths of two children.

At a hearing in Philadelphia, Mr. Dandridge and Mr. Gray waived their right to fight extradition. Two Richmond police officers were in the courtroom, ready to take the pair back immediately.

Investigators have said they are looking into whether Mr. Dandridge and Mr. Gray were involved in similar crimes elsewhere, including the death of Mr. Gray’s wife. Her body was found in southwestern Pennsylvania 10 days after Mr. Dandridge was released from a Virginia prison.

Authorities said police found evidence linking Mr. Dandridge and Mr. Gray to all seven slayings. The victims were all bound with tape, and their throats were cut, Richmond police spokeswoman Cynthia Price said.

The bodies of Percyell Tucker, 55; his wife, Mary Tucker, 47; and her daughter, Ashley Baskerville, 21, were found in their ransacked Richmond home Friday.

The killings came days after the slayings of members of a family well-known in music and business circles. Bryan Harvey, 49; his wife, Kathryn, 39; and their daughters, Stella, 9, and Ruby, 4, were found with their throats cut on New Year’s Day. Their house in Richmond was set on fire.

John Haddad, police chief in Washington, Pa., said Mr. Gray has always been a “person of interest” in the death of his wife. The body of Treva Gray, 35, was found Nov. 5 near woods in Washington, about 20 miles south of Pittsburgh.

Autopsy results were pending. Investigators also were waiting for the results of toxicology and tissue tests.

Washington police said there was no visible trauma on the woman’s body, but they think she died elsewhere.

Mr. Dandridge had been released from prison Oct. 26 after serving 10 years for robbery, according to Virginia Department of Corrections records. Mr. Gray also had served six years in prison for robbery, firearms possession and cocaine possession. He was released in 2002.

Miss Price confirmed that “there’s an association between the suspects and one of the victims” in the latest slayings, but declined to be more specific. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that police were looking into witness statements that Miss Baskerville was with the two men when they drove a van to the Harveys’ neighborhood the morning they were slain.

Miss Price said that Richmond police have spoken to investigators in neighboring Chesterfield County, where a home-invasion robbery took place Jan. 3. In that crime, robbers forced their way into a home after knocking on the door and asking for directions.

A telephone message left yesterday for Chesterfield police was not returned.

• Associated Press writer Zinie Chen Sampson contributed to this story from Richmond, and AP writer Joe Mandak contributed to from Pittsburgh.

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