Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

David Parker Ray: The Toy Box Killer


State District Judge Neil Mertz made the decision to have Ray tried separately for each of the three victims. One trial was to begin on March 28, 2000, in Tierra Amarilla, for the kidnapping and sexual assault of Cynthia V. Judge Mertz had made it difficult to use all the evidence, according to Glatt and Fielder, as he suppressed Ray's early interviews with the FBI and New Mexico State Police. He also banned the media from the voir dire in which jury members were selected, and he would soon punch even more holes into the case.

David Parker Ray in court
David Parker Ray in court

Just after the jury selection, Ray apparently suffered a heart attack and was rushed to a hospital in Las Cruces. He did have a history of heart trouble, his attorney, Jeff Rein, said, but the prosecutor believed he could also be trying to delay proceedings. If so, he succeeded, as the judge postponed for another week. That led to more legal delays, and a number of expert witnesses from the FBI were excluded. Then, unexpectedly, Judge Mertz decided to start a different trial, this one for the charge of the kidnapping and torture in 1996 of the woman from Colorado. Although it was the case with the weakest evidence, Mertz scheduled the trial for the end of May.

Ray was pleased with the delays, as if he were the one manipulating the system. It seemed to make him feel powerful, especially when Mertz excluded Ray's printed sheet of procedures for handling captives, and all devices found in the trailer, as no one could prove they had been there in 1996. While the prosecution had the victim's testimony about what had been done, as well as the videotape, that did not mean that the items she had seen were the same ones acquired during the 1999 search.

On May 7, Angelica M., the second victim to accuse Ray, died from pneumonia at age 25. She'd become a drug addict, apparently unable to get past her horrendous experience. Without her testimony that trial was potentially off the books.

A few days later, Cindy Hendy, now age 40, formally received her sentence. Cynthia V. was present in court and she rose to tell the woman who had helped to terrorized her, "Rot in hell." Hendy was sent to the Women's Correctional Center in Grants, New Mexico.

On May 23, jury selection for Ray's first trial finally got underway. In this case, he faced twelve counts of sexual abuse, kidnapping and conspiracy.

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