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Pauley Family Story Brings Mixed Emotions


Thank you for publishing the story of Lilly Ann Pauley (“Killers in the House,” Oct. 20, 2010). It was interesting to see somebody else's side of the awful tragedy that fateful New Year's Day in 2006.

I had actually forgotten about the incident until this story was recently published. It did bring new emotions of anger, disappointment and sadness to light and I just wish there was more that Richmonders could do to commemorate the Harvey family's memory. It breaks my heart thinking about what happened to that innocent family, and especially the children.

I think more should be done to protect our city, and to help the poor as well so this will not keep happening in Richmond. To think several families lost their lives over belongings and possessions is atrocious. I just hope that these men who committed so many murders will get what they deserve: the death penalty.

R. Morris

Editor's note: Ray Dandridge is serving a life sentence after pleading guilty to seven murders; Ricky Gray is on death row, convicted of five counts of capital murder.

I have to admit, it was with some trepidation that I opened this week's issue. I realized the article would ostensibly be about the Pauley-Johnson family's struggle to maintain normalcy while harboring two murderers, but I knew that the Pauley's story could (and would) not be told without mentioning the senseless deaths it is based around. A summary of the events surrounding the deaths of Brian, Kathryn, Stella and Ruby Harvey is necessary in order to tell the Pauley's story; however, I take serious issue with the manner in Style Weekly chose to address the Harvey family murders. Most Richmonders are well aware of the events that occurred New Year's Day 2006. We all bore witness to the endless news cycle — the photos of the Harveys and their neighborhood, the testimonies from police officers and detectives, the public outpouring of grief over such a cruel and indecent act. Four years ago is nothing on a Richmonder's time frame, and to many people this tragedy still resonates as deeply today as it did in 2006.

Because of this, I wonder why Style felt compelled to describe, in grisly detail, the manner in which the Harveys were killed, the scene firefighters stumbled upon, or Gray's graphic description of his sick, sick acts. No one reading this article needs reminding of how heart-wrenching the Harvey murders are; we all felt disgusted and dismayed by our fellow man during the months following their deaths, and while they certainly have not been forgotten, we do not need to rehash the details of their deaths. Revisiting the base motives behind Ray Dandridge and Ricky Gray's actions, and the violence they committed to appease these desires, is not only insensitive to those still mourning the deaths of the Harveys, but also needlessly dwells on a tragic story that does nothing to raise up the victims or help us find forgiveness in our hearts for their killers.

For a long time I have respected Style's ability to produce informative, well-written stories than foster an inclusive atmosphere in the city I love, but this cover story left me disappointed and angry.

Lian M. Bily

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