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Two men convicted of "revenge murder" after missing Rocklin father still not found

Two men convicted of "revenge murder" after missing Rocklin father still not found
Two men convicted of "revenge murder" after missing Rocklin father still not found 02:59

SACRAMENTO – Years of a long-held grudge led to murder.

On Friday, a jury convicted two men in the killing of a Rocklin father, whose body has never been found. Five years ago, a missing person case turned into what prosecutors call revenge murder.

On Jan. 11, 2018, Raymond Wright mysteriously disappeared. Two days later, his brother confronted a strange man inside Wright's home. The intruder ran from the house, but he left behind his drinking cup.

On Jan. 18, police found Wright's truck but without the 55-year-old. It would be another five days until investigators got a break in the case. Victor Merle Gray led police on a pursuit while under the influence before crashing.

Ray Wright missing poster

Investigators searched his van and found evidence pointing to Wright's case, including "a blood-soaked raincoat, the victim's wallet and other property belonging to the victim were found inside."

Remember that drinking cup mentioned earlier? A DNA hit revealed it belonged to Gray.

Police also found a letter from Gray to Robert Manor, unhappy about Manor's failure to take care of the person who hand-delivered his revenge, according to Sacramento prosecutors.

Who is Robert Manor? Prosecutors believe he hired Gray to kill Wright over a previous DUI crash.

"There are many victims out there who still feel victimized even when it seems the system has addressed the wrong. That may be right and that may be wrong," said Jennifer Mouzis, a criminal defense attorney.

According to the Sacramento District Attorney's Office, Wright caused a DUI crash involving Manor and his wife, which left them seriously injured in 2011.

Even after Wright paid his debt to society, it appeared Manor did not think justice was served. Investigators believe he hired Gray for revenge murder. However, Wright's remains have not been found.

A homicide case without a body is not often tried in court, Mouzis said.

"The reason they're rare is because the prosecution has to prove in addition to the fact the defendant unlawfully killed the person — the person is dead," she said.

However, a jury believed and convicted the pair of murder and kidnapping charges.

Retribution cases are rare, but not so rare that we can ignore them, Mouzis said. 

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