Ronald Adrin Gray: Military Death Sentences – Once Appeals Are Exhausted, They Aren’t Exhausted

Nidal Hasan’s trial and conviction is estimated to have cost taxpayers $6 million at this point. That cost is estimated to triple as appeals go forward. A retired Army Colonel, John Galligan was involved in Hasan’s trial and has offered “to take on his appeal.” For $18 million…no surprise. He believes the appeals will take so long that Hasan will be dead before all avenues are exhausted. It’s only your money.

The U.S. Justice system, whether civilian or military is broken.

Ronald Adrin Gray

Ronald Adrin Gray

Ronald Adrin Gray, a U.S. Army Specialist, was convicted of premeditated murder, and murder and rape in a Military courts martial in 1988. Prior and in unrelated cases, Gray pleaded guilty in a North Carolina civilian court to:

…two counts of second degree murder, two counts of first degree burglary, five counts of first degree rape, five counts of first degree sexual offense, attempted first degree rape, three counts of second degree kidnapping, two counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, and inflicting serious injury.

Gray was sentenced to three consecutive and five concurrent terms of life imprisonment in civil court before he was convicted of additional heinous crimes and sentenced to death by the Military. The additional crimes sending him to death row consisted of:

1) On December 15, 1986, he abducted, raped, sodomized, and murdered Private Laura Lee Vickery-Clay. She had been shot in the neck, forehead, chest, and back of the head. She had also suffered blunt force trauma to various parts of her body. The murder weapon-a .22 caliber pistol that petitioner had stolen in November 1986-was found approximately 60 feet from her body which was dumped in the woods near Ft. Bragg.

2) On January 3, 1987, he entered the barracks room of Private Mary Ann Lang Nameth under the pretense that he needed to use the bathroom. Once in the room, petitioner grabbed Nameth, held a knife to her throat, and asked for her military field gear. Petitioner then tied Nameth’s hands behind her back with the cord from a curling iron, removed her underclothing, and raped her. Petitioner then stabbed her repeatedly in the neck and side and threatened to return and kill her if she screamed. Nameth suffered a lacerated trachea and a collapsed or punctured lung. When, shortly thereafter, petitioner’s photograph appeared in the newspapers and on television following his arrest for another crime, Nameth identified him as her assailant.

3) In the evening of January 6, 1987, Kimberly Ann Ruggles, a local taxi driver, was dispatched to pick up a passenger named “Ron” at petitioner’s address. In the early morning hours of January 7, military police officers on routine patrol discovered Ruggles’ empty taxicab parked at the edge of some woods. Her nude body was discovered a short distance away. She had been raped, sodomized, beaten, and stabbed seven times. Ruggles’ mouth was gagged with a cloth belt that matched a pair of black karate pants that other police officers had found in petitioner’s possession just hours earlier. Petitioner’s fingerprints were found on the interior door handle of Ruggles’ taxi, and Ruggles’ fingerprints were found on money in petitioner’s possession. Petitioner’s footprints were also found at the scene of the crime.

Gray is smart enough to demand and psychological testing over and over and over, (6 or 7 times) some of which were denied, some allowed. He has been found sane at the time of the murders.

Gray was sentenced to death in 1988. By sometime in 1993 he had exhausted all appeals (supposedly). President George W. Bush signed his execution order by lethal injection in 2008. On November 20, 2008 his execution date was announced for December 10, 2008…until a federal judge issued a stay of execution on November 26, 2008. On January 26, 2012, the U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals denied relief. A year and a half later no execution date has been announced.

CAAF [Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces] yesterday denied military death row inmate Ronald Gray’s writ appeal, appearing to set the stage for his habeas litigation to resume in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas:

…On consideration of the writ-appeal petition, it is ordered that said writ-appeal petition is hereby denied without prejudice to raising the issue asserted after the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas rules on the pending habeas petition.- Source: CAAFLOG, April 18, 2012

Read the comments on CAAFLOG. What a mess. Where’s the justice? Do we no longer recognize it when it’s staring us down?

Does President Bush’s order stand, or does Barack Obama have the opportunity to deny it?

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  • I have to say that I don’t understand these cost estimates. The court is composed of military officers, all of who are going to be paid whether or not they participate in the process of military justice—including all military lawyers, all appellate judges, and everyone who works for them is either a member of the Armed Forces or an employee of the DoD. Taxpayers have already paid for the courtroom, all if its accouterments, the prison, all of the guards, the food, and the utilities necessary to run it.

    I also do not understand why that “process” of reviewing records of trial should take so long. “Justice delayed is justice denied.” —William Blackstone

    • Hi Mustang, the estimate came from Galligan who was on Hasan’s defense team, so they are not verified. It seems a Mil attorney would not bill as a civilian attorney bills. You make a good point. On Ronald Gray, the demands for sanity testing was ridiculous – I think 7 times they ask for extraordinarily expensive testing (but the request was denied at times). The whole appeals process is ridiculous, although I will say that with DNA testing, some lives have been saved. That’s not an issue for either Hasan or Gray.

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