Montclair attorney found guilty of murder in 2018 shooting of girlfriend

The jury deliberated for only three hours before coming back with a guilty verdict in the trial of James Ray.

Matt Trapani and Chris Keating

May 12, 2023, 10:11 PM

Updated 400 days ago

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An Essex County jury has found a Montclair attorney guilty of killing his girlfriend in 2018.
The jury deliberated for only three hours before coming back with a guilty verdict in the trial of James Ray. They did not believe that Ray was acting in self-defense when he shot his girlfriend Angela Bledsoe three times inside their home.
Ray did not move when the verdict was read. He was also found guilty of two charges of weapons possession.
Ray claimed that Bledsoe was pointing a handgun at him inside their home. He claimed he got the gun away and shot at her four times, striking her three times – once in the chest, back and face.
The prosecution said that Ray staged the crime scene after the shooting, dropped his daughter off with relatives and fled to Cuba.
“Ladies and gentlemen, the state submits these are not the actions of a man acting in self-defense,” Assistant Prosecutor Michele Miller told the jury during closing arguments.
Bledsoe’s father Ray Bledsoe praised Miller’s handling of the case.
"I was elated the jury was an intelligent group of people who made the correct decision. Attorney Michele Miller did an outstanding job,” he said. “She did her homework."
Essex County Prosecutor Theodore Stephens also praised Miller’s work.
"Justice was served. It can be nothing more than that. This office is all about seeking justice, doing justice, serving justice, that’s what the office is all about,” he said. “And Michele Miller is the epitome of this office in terms of professionalism."
Ray was escorted back to his cell after the verdict was read. He will be sentenced in June. He could get life in prison.


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