Essex County Prosecutor’s Office spokesman Robert Florida confirmed Sunday that inmate James Ray III, who was convicted in May of murdering his girlfriend Angela Bledsoe in their Upper Montclair home in 2018, had died after being found unconscious in his cell.
After a “medical emergency,” Ray was pronounced dead at Newark’s University Hospital, according to a statement released by Essex County Chief of Staff Philip B. Alagia.
“A cause of death will be determined by the Medical Examiner’s Office,” Alagia said, noting that an investigation is underway. Ray, who was 60 at the time of the murder, acknowledged to shooting and killing Bledsoe, his girlfriend and the mother of his 6-year-old daughter, in their North Mountain Avenue apartment.
He claimed he acted in self-defense because Bledsoe had picked up a revolver he had been cleaning and pointed it at him. He drove to pick up his daughter from school, left her in his brother’s care in a pool of blood, and then went to Cuba, where he was arrested on October 30, 2018.
The tweet below verifies the news:
James Ray III, a New Jersey lawyer convicted of killing his girlfriend, died in jail as he awaited sentencing. https://t.co/5ydZ6vhreK
— CBS New York (@CBSNewYork) June 20, 2023
The jury heard excerpts from his confession message to his brother and the notebook he kept on the way to Cuba in which he described the murder. Bledsoe, 40, was shot four times; one of those bullets hit him in the back.
The jury deliberated for only a few hours before finding him guilty on all counts of murder and weapon possession. His life sentence hearing was scheduled for this coming Thursday.
The following resources can be used to learn more about the issues we’ve discussed:
- Six Teens, Including Four Minors, Were Shot Monday Near Where Milwaukee’s Juneteenth Party Just Ended
- Harnett County House Fire Kills Couple, Family Friend, and Two Boys
Since 2021, when one inmate was stabbed to death by another inmate, and when a 22-year-old man with schizophrenia named Jayshawn Boyd was severely abused and left in a coma for months, the Essex County Correctional Facility has been under scrutiny.
Two of the men who attempted to kill Boyd were found guilty of their crime last week. According to The New York Times, the beating in September 2021 lasted for at least 2 minutes and 11 seconds.
The California Examiner is a great resource to save for quick access to news on the Golden State in the future.