Ray Sentenced Twenty Years to Life for Death of Ex Wife’s Husband

Staff Writer

NEWPORT CITY – Jeffrey Ray, 56, stood quietly in Orleans County Superior Court Criminal Division Friday afternoon as Judge Robert Bent handed him down a 20-year to life prison sentence. Ray January Ray pleaded guilty to an amended charge of second-degree murder for the May 25, 2015 death of his neighbor and ex-wife's new husband Rick Vreeland. The sentence comes with an automatic appeal to the supreme court.
"I love you, dad," a woman in the back of the courtroom said in tears as police led Ray out of the courtroom in shackles.
On Friday Bent denied Ray’s attempt to withdraw the plea halfway through the three day sentencing hearing last week.
Family members didn't speak after the sentencing, but letters read by the court outlined the trauma they experienced.
"You took my husband away from me, and I can never get him back," stated a letter written by Vreeland's wife who is also Ray's former wife. "I feel broken and alone. He was my best friend and my rock. I have been lost without Rick. This not only affected me but the whole family. Rick took good care of your children as if they were his own. If anything, you should have been thanking him, not ending his life."
Another family member wrote that he sees the murder of Vreeland every day.
"I was only two weeks away from my high school graduation, a day that all kids my age look forward to," the young man said. "A time of celebration and laughter. A time to begin my journey to adulthood. I planned to join the Army and become an infantryman. But, this was all taken from me. All the joy, all the excitement, all the laughter and all the celebration. Rick Vreeland was my father. He raised me. He taught me right from wrong. He showed me how to be a man and led by example." (Read more in the Express Monday)