Dear Editor,

Some crimes are so horrible, that a life sentence does not suffice. On New Year's Day 2006, the bodies of a family of four were found in their burnt-out Richmond home. Among the dead were two young girls, aged four and nine. A man named Ricky Gray, who had already murdered his wife and would later murder another family just five days later, was the man responsible for the murders of the Harvey family. The victims were bound with duct tape, stabbed, and beaten to death. The last thing those little girls saw was Ricky Gray raise a hammer over their heads before swinging it down over them. Then-Commonwealth’s Attorney for Richmond, Mike Herring, who prosecuted Gray, is against the death penalty, yet he saw how brutal these crimes were, and decided to seek the death penalty. Gray spent 10 years on death row before his execution in January 2017. His lawyers filed a clemency request to then-Governor Terry McAuliffe. Even Governor McAuliffe, who opposes the death penalty, was so repulsed by these crimes, that he could find no reason to spare Gray’s life. That's how evil Ricky Gray was. The murder of the Harvey family could’ve happened to any of us. It could’ve happened to your friends, neighbors, it could’ve been anyone. What crime is more heinous than the murders of multiple people, including children? A life sentence is not an appropriate punishment for such evil. Virginia should keep the death penalty for precisely these kinds of crimes.

Daniel Garcia

McLean, VA

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