Defense: Former Montclair lawyer had no choice but to kill his girlfriend in 2018

The defense says that this was a case of self-defense and that Angela Bledsoe pointed a gun at James Ray.

Chris Keating and Matt Trapani

May 10, 2023, 5:23 PM

Updated 401 days ago

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Closing arguments are taking place in the murder trial of Montclair attorney James Ray.
He is accused of fatally shooting his live-in girlfriend Angela Bledsoe in 2018.
The defense team for Ray claims that no crime was committed. They say that this was a case of self-defense and that Bledsoe pointed a gun at Ray. They say that he had no other choice.
"I know based on the circumstantial evidence that she picked up that gun, not once but twice, and pointed it at James Ray,” defense attorney Brooke Barnett said.
Barnett laid out the defense as Ray looked on from the front of the courtroom. Barnett argued Bledsoe had the motive to pick up a gun and not Ray. Barnett claimed Bledsoe felt trapped in the relationship and that she wanted to move to Florida and continue an affair she'd been in for nine months.
“She just couldn’t take it and picked up the gun and pointed it,” the defense attorney said.
The defense argues the only relevant evidence is the gun that Bledsoe allegedly had in her hand - the one that detectives say came back without fingerprints.
But Barnett said, "There was no DNA tested on this gun. I submit to you if it was tested, Angela Bledsoe's DNA would've been on that gun."
When prosecutors get their chance to close on Thursday, they will likely paint a very different picture for jurors. They claim Ray murdered Bledsoe because she was trying to leave a toxic relationship and that she was trying to take their daughter with her.
The prosecution will also likely mention that Ray fled to Cuba before he was arrested by police.
Ray could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted. The jury is made of 11 men and four women.


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