A lawyer from New Jersey who was convicted of killing his longtime girlfriend and subsequently fleeing to Cuba has passed away after being found unconscious in his jail cell. James Ray III, aged 60, was pronounced dead on Sunday at University Hospital in Newark.
Following the discovery, an investigation is being conducted by the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office and the Essex County Correctional Facility (ECCF) Internal Affairs, according to Philip B. Alagia, the Chief of Staff for Essex County. The exact cause of death will be determined by the Medical Examiner’s Office, as stated by Alagia.
The incident occurred in October 2018 when Ray fatally shot 44-year-old Angela Bledsoe in their Montclair residence after dropping off their 6-year-old daughter at school.
After the shooting, Ray prepared various documents and visited a bank, where he withdrew checks and cash. He then picked up his daughter from school and left her with his brother at a restaurant in New Jersey, asking him to take care of her before abruptly departing, NJ.com reported.
Ray traveled through the southwestern United States and eventually reached Mexico, from where he managed to book a flight to Cuba. However, less than a month later, he was returned to the United States by law enforcement authorities.
Last month, Ray was convicted of first-degree murder and weapons offenses. His sentencing was scheduled for Thursday, and he faced the possibility of a life sentence in New Jersey State Prison.
Prior to his legal career, Ray had served as a police officer in New York City and had also served in the U.S. Marines. The daughter of Ray and Bledsoe remains in the custody of her family members.