New Evidence May Free Detroit Artist After 50 Years Behind Bars

In 1973, Ray Gray was a talented young artist and athlete in Detroit, but one night he was caught up in a murder that many people say he had no part in.

Metro Times
Metro Times

In 1973, Ray Gray was a talented young artist and athlete in Detroit. 

But in February of that year, he was caught up in a murder that many people say he had no part in.

On the night of February 6, 1973, Gray was at his family’s home when his life changed forever.

“There were people, family members, who went to court and testified. Judge Justin Ravitz just decided not to believe relatives and others who said ‘Ray wasn’t there, Ray wasn’t there.’ – Bill Proctor, private investigator

Eddie Allen, in this week’s Metro Times, writes, 

“Two men had come to visit Gray at the Allendale Street home he shared with family members on Detroit’s west side. He’d known one of the men, Tyrone Pugh, since he’d been a teenager. “The other guy I didn’t know, and he was inquiring about some drugs,” Gray recalls, his gentle voice steady during several 15-minute phone calls from Muskegon Correctional Facility. Pugh, Gray says, was AWOL from the Army. Like many other ex-soldiers, especially those who went to war in Southeast Asia during the mid-’60s, he returned to his hometown with a full-blown drug habit. Gray says he isn’t sure why Pugh chose him to visit, other than their years-long acquaintance and Pugh’s lack of contacts for scoring heroin since he’d been away in the military. “I didn’t want to be involved,” says Gray. “I had a life, I had things going for me.”

That night a man named Ruben Bryant was shot and killed. Gray was identified as the shooter, but no physical evidence tied him to the crime.

Furthermore, friends and family members told police Gray had been at home all evening long. Gray was convicted of the murder and sentenced to life in prison.

Nearly 50 years later, Gray may now have the proof he needs to show that he didn’t commit the crime. And under a Wayne County program to revisit old cases, he may have a chance. 

Click the player above to hear Metro Times writer Eddie Allen and former WXYZ reporter, now private investigator, Bill Proctor, speak with CultureShift’s Amanda LeClaire. 


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  • Amanda LeClaire
    Amanda LeClaire is an award-winning host and producer of CultureShift on 101.9 WDET-FM Detroit’s NPR station. She’s a founding producer of WDET’s flagship news talk show Detroit Today, and a former host/reporter for Arizona Public Media. Amanda is also an artist, certified intuitive and energy healer, and professional tarot reader.