RICHMOND, Va. – Relatives of a man who murdered a family of four testified Friday that his childhood was filled with abuse, but jurors deciding whether he should be executed also heard a witness describe being stabbed in his mouth, face and neck in a separate merciless attack.
Ricky Jovan Gray was convicted Thursday of capital murder in the New Year's Day slayings. The victims were found in the basement of their burning home, bound, beaten with a hammer and stabbed, with their throats cut.
Gray's mother, Barbara Moten, wept as she testified that he was beaten repeatedly with a horse strap by his father and was sexually abused by a half brother for years.
"Sorry, Cooley," Moten said, using Gray's nickname, as he looked back at her, crying.
During cross-examination, prosecutor Michael Herring asked Moten if she knew about Gray's crimes.
"I don't want to hear about it — no!" Moten said, shaking her head and covering her ears.
Killed in the attack were musician Bryan Harvey, 49, his wife, Kathryn, 39, and daughters Stella, 9, and Ruby, 4.
Prosecutors say Gray, 29, and his nephew, Ray Joseph Dandridge, killed the Harveys during a bloody crime spree that included the slaying of a second Richmond family less than a week later.
A police detective from Philadelphia, where the men were arrested Jan. 7, testified Thursday that Gray confessed to those crimes and others, including the November slaying of Gray's wife near Pittsburgh.
Detective Howard Peterman said Gray also confessed to a Dec. 31 slashing assault and robbery in which two knives broke off in the victim, Ryan Carey, 26, of Arlington.
In a soft, shaky voice, Carey testified Friday that he immediately relinquished his wallet and told his assailants, "Whatever you guys need — take what you need." Despite his compliance, they attacked.
"I could feel the knives going into the bottom of my mouth, the side of my face, then down around my neck," he testified. "I noticed that I was having problems breathing."
The attack left him in a coma for two weeks and in a hospital for two months. Carey lost all use of his right arm and has severe psychological trauma, his father said.
"He's not the same boy," David Carey said.
Jurors were shown the scars on Ryan Carey's neck and deep gouges to his arm. One juror burst into tears at the graphic presentation, and several in the audience sobbed.
Prosecutors also called relatives of the Harveys, who were well known in Richmond. Bryan Harvey was a guitarist and singer for the rock duo House of Freaks, which released five albums between 1987 and 1995, and his wife co-owned a quirky toy and novelty store called World of Mirth.
"I can't look at my kids without ... wondering if they're going to be alive at the end of the week," said Kathryn Harvey's half-brother, actor Steven Culp, who played Rex Van De Kamp on "Desperate Housewives." "It's done something to me. It's bottomless, you know? There's no end to it."
Dandridge, 29, has not been charged with killing the Harveys but is scheduled for a Sept. 18 murder trial in the Jan. 6 killings of Percyell Tucker, 55, his wife, Mary Baskerville-Tucker, 47, and her daughter, Ashley Baskerville, 21. Gray told police Baskerville was an accomplice to the Harvey slayings.
Gray told police he was high on PCP the day he killed the Harveys, and relatives testified Friday that he became hooked on drugs as a young teen.
One of his relatives testified that she was sexually abused by the same man who had abused Gray. Herring acknowledged the woman's trauma before asking, "You've not killed anyone, have you?"
"No," she replied.