Former Detroit boxer Ray Gray seeks new trial after 48 years in prison for murder he says he didn't commit

click to enlarge Ray Gray walks out of prison a free man after 48 years behind bars. - Dave Mesrey
Dave Mesrey
Ray Gray walks out of prison a free man after 48 years behind bars.

Ray Gray, a four-time Golden Gloves boxing champion and artist from Detroit who spent more than 48 years behind bars for a murder he says he did not commit, was finally released from prison in May.

But Gray's fight for freedom isn't over yet. Now, Gray, 69, wants a new trial, according to a press release sent by Marko Law, PLLC, the law firm representing Gray.

According to the release, Marko Law filed a motion on behalf of Gray "to withdraw the unjust no contest plea to second-degree murder he was forced to accept to secure his freedom in May of this year. Gray further seeks to proceed to a new trial on the original 1973 murder charge so that he can finally prove that he is an innocent man."

Gray was convicted for the 1973 murder of Reuben Bryant and sentenced to life in prison. In May, the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office offered Gray immediate freedom in exchange for accepting a plea deal to second-degree murder.

According to the press release, Gray took the plea deal reluctantly.

"Based on the Covid-19 infection rate at his prison and his wife's pending potentially lethal surgery, Gray hesitantly pleaded no contest to second degree murder and was released from prison that same day," the release states. "At that point the easy thing to do would have been for Gray to put the matter behind him and live out his remaining years. However, Gray is, and always has been, a fighter. Gray now seeks to withdraw that plea and asks for a new trial where he can prove that he was not involved in the 1973 murder of Rueben Bryant."

The press release continues, "Full exoneration is important enough to Gray that he is willing to risk being sent back to prison for the chance of proving his innocence. As Gray reestablishes himself in the community with his loving wife Barbara at his side he is optimistic that the Judge will grant him his day in court."

Marko Law is seeking full exoneration and compensation for the wrongful conviction.

"The reality is, after 48 years, either Gray committed the murder and deserves to be in prison or he is innocent and deserves full exoneration and compensation for the wrongful conviction," the release continues. "Offering a plea deal that dangles freedom in front of an innocent man after he spent 48 years in prison does not serve the ends of justice. Counsel for Gray hopes Prosecutor Worthy will take a closer look at the case and recognize that Gray deserves exoneration because he is, in fact, an innocent man."

According to Marko Law, new evidence has come to light over the past 48 years that "undermine[s] the reliability of the guilty verdict rendered after a [three-day] bench trial in 1973."

"For 48 years, Gray has been fighting to clear his name and he has no intention of stopping until he is fully exonerated and rightfully viewed as an innocent man," the release continues. "Gray deserves the chance to fight to clear his name and hopes the Court will grant him that opportunity."

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