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Ricky Gray: 'I robbed Harveys of a lifetime of joy'

Published: Jan. 11, 2017 at 9:05 PM EST|Updated: Apr. 13, 2017 at 8:20 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A newly released video includes audio of Ricky Gray expressing his remorse for killing the Harvey family. The video comes as dozens of mental health workers and child advocates are urging Gov. Terry McAuliffe to spare the life of the convicted killer.

With a week until his scheduled execution, his attorneys sent a letter to the governor saying Gray was raped repeatedly by his brother as a child and began using drugs to deal with the effects of that abuse.

Gray also issued a statement in the letter and expressed remorse about the killing of the Harvey family on New Year's Day in 2006.

"Mr. Gray is an important example of someone who needed an advocate to intervene while he was a small child and subjected to terrifying abuse at the hands of his family members, or when he was a young boy and desperately turned to drugs in an attempt to numb the painful impact of this abuse," the letter said. "But now we all must face the stark truth that no one did intervene. We urge you to consider this failure and intervene to commute Mr. Gray's sentence from death to life imprisonment."

Gray has made several attempts in recent months to have his execution changed. His attorneys asked a judge this week to delay the execution because the current method of lethal inject is cruel and unusual punishment.

Gray says the killings have "never left my mind, because I understand exactly what I took from the world by looking at my two sisters."

"I know my words can't bring anything back, but I continuously feel horrible for the circumstances that I put them through," said Gray. "I robbed them of a lifelong supply of joy. I've stolen Christmas, birthdays, and Easters, Thanksgivings, graduations, and weddings, children. There's nothing I can do to make up for that."

Governor McAuliffe may spare the life of Gray and commute his death sentence to life in prison without parole if he chooses.

"There are no constraints on it. He can commute this sentence for whatever reason he wises--if he wishes," said NBC12 legal expert Steve Benjamin. "It's common in every execution. It would be uncommon for a condemned man not to seek clemency."

Gray's attorneys say he endured a cycle of sexual abuse by his older brother, and ruthless beatings from his father. But in Gray's case, his attorneys say the abuse dictated his drug addiction…he began using PCP at an early age to block out his trauma…evidence, attorneys admit should have been presented to a jury.

"Ordinarily, that evidence is developed before trial and sentencing. It might be because Mr. Gray kept it private and to himself and didn't tell anyone," said Benjamin.

Gray's execution is set for Jan. 18. Attorneys said earlier this week that they will continue to fight his execution.

After the ruling earlier this week, attorneys for Gray said they would continue to fight the use of the drug cocktail planned to be used in the execution.

The letter sent to the governor on Wednesday can be seen in its entirety below, along with a YouTube video released by a Clemency for Ricky Gray group which includes audio of his apology.

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