WILKES-BARRE — On Monday, Dominic Jaquariuspa Ray was set to have his last conference hearing before being put on trial for the homicide of Victor Grandy. Instead, Ray pleaded guilty to third degree murder.
The 25-year-old Wilkes-Barre man entered the plea before Luzerne County Judge Fred A. Pierantoni III, which he accepted. Ray’s trial was originally set to start on June 24.
Assistant District Attorney Tony Ross read the terms of the plea agreement before the court. As part of the agreement, a second charge against Ray, prohibited possession of a firearm, was withdrawn by prosecutors.
Prosecutors accused Ray of shooting and killing Grandy in the Sherman Hills apartment complex in Wilkes-Barre in October 2016.
Video footage gathered from the apartment complex allegedly showed Grandy, 32, meeting with two men on the night he was killed. The footage shows Grandy trying to walk away from the meeting, and one of the two men, later identified as Ray, firing a shot in his direction.
Footage taken from another angle shows Grandy running and collapsing. He was pronounced dead on the scene when police arrived. Forensic pathologist Dr. Gary Ross previously said Grandy suffered two bullet wounds — one to the back and one to the leg.
Ray fled, and was later arrested by U.S. Marshals in New York City in January 2017.
As part of the guilty plea, Ray is agreeing to pay all costs of prosecution and restitution. Amounts of restitution for Grandy’s family will be specifically laid out during Ray’s sentencing, which Pierantoni set for July 30.
While Attorney Ross noted that prosecutors and Ray’s defense team of Frank McCabe and Mary Deady had not made an agreement on what Ray’s sentence should be, he did say before the court that the maximum sentence he is facing is up to 40 years in prison and $50,000 in fines.
After the guilty plea was read off, Ross said prosecutors felt Ray’s plea would bring closure to Grandy’s family.
“By agreeing to plead to that, he acknowledged his involvement in the crime. We felt it was an appropriate plea,” Ross said.
Ray, however, was quiet. He said nothing to a reporter as he was being escorted out of the courthouse for return to the Luzerne County Correctional Facility, where he will stay as he awaits his sentence.
Reach Patrick Kernan at 570-991-6386 or on Twitter @PatKernan