‘That last word should be guilty.’ Prosecution delivers closing arguments in murder trial of Montclair lawyer

James Ray is facing life in prison in connection to the fatal shooting of his live-in girlfriend Angela Bledsoe.

Matt Trapani and Chris Keating

May 11, 2023, 5:26 PM

Updated 398 days ago

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Closing arguments continued on Thursday in the trial of a Montclair attorney accused of killing his girlfriend in 2018.
James Ray’s defense team claims the killing was in self-defense. They say that his girlfriend Angela Bledsoe pointed a gun at him and that he had no choice but to shoot her.
But Essex County prosecutors made it clear on Thursday that they do not believe this defense. Assistant prosecutor Michele Miller told jurors that the killing was murder.
“You have the last word here,” Miller told the jury. “The state submits that after all of the evidence has been presented, that last word should be ‘guilty.’”
Miller directly addressed Ray’s self-defense claim. She showed jurors the gun used in the shooting.
“This is the gun that the defendant claims he removed from Angela Bledsoe’s hand. This is the gun that the state submits was never in Angela Bledsoe’s hand at any time,” Miller said.
Bledsoe was shot three times in the face, torso and back. The state says that there were no fingerprints on the gun that she was allegedly holding.
Miller also took a jab at the defense argument that the police failed to check that gun for Angela's DNA, trying to prove she was holding it.
“We know whose DNA is on this weapon. It’s Angela Bledsoe’s because the gun was placed in a puddle of Angela Bledsoe’s blood,” Miller said.
The state also told jurors that in the days leading up to Bledsoe’s death, Ray was searching online for spy cameras and looking at text messages Bledsoe had with a man she was having an affair with. The state also said that after the shooting, Ray fled to Cuba.
The defense said that this wasn’t a crime and that the evidence doesn’t overcome reasonable doubt.
The prosecutor is expected to finish its closing arguments on Friday. The jury will then be given the case to deliberate.
If convicted, Ray could face life in prison.


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