Murder Conviction in "Revenge" Plot to Kidnap Driver Who Hit Man's Wife in DUI Years Earlier
Two California men were convicted of first-degree murder and other charges in Sacramento.
Two California men were convicted March 17 in the 2018 revenge murder of a man who caused a drunken-driving crash that injured one man and his wife seven years earlier. A Sacramento County Superior Court jury found Robert Manor, 54, and Victor Merle Gray, 53, each guilty of first-degree murder and kidnapping for ransom causing death in the killing of Raymond Wright, 55, the Sacramento County District Attorney's Office said in a news release. The murder charge for each also included a special circumstance enhancement for committing murder during a kidnapping. Wright disappeared and was presumed dead in 2018. His body was never found. The murder was revenge for a 2011 crash that seriously injured Manor and his wife, who was not identified, prosecutors said. Wright was convicted of a felony charge of driving under the influence, according to prosecutors. Here's what you need to know about this brutal crime.
Who Are Robert Manor and Victor Merle Gray?
Manor hired Gray to carry out his murder plan, prosecutors said. One piece of evidence was a letter from Gray to Manor that included complaints about not being paid for "delivering dude" and asking Manor to take care of the person "who hand-delivered you your revenge." Gray had other felony convictions at the time of his arrest in March 2021, officials said without providing additional details.
Who Was Raymond Wright?
Wright was a resident of Rocklin, California, where he worked as a construction contractor around Sacramento. He had three children. He also played drums in a local band. Wright was convicted of felony driving under the influence for causing a 2011 collision in which Manor and his wife were seriously injured, prosecutors said. Wright served his time and completed his probation, the Sacramento County District Attorney's Office said.
What Was the Beef?
"Manor held a grudge against the victim for years and put his plan for revenge into motion in 2018," the Sacramento County District Attorney's Office said in a news release. The office offered no details as to the nature of Manor's grudge, the injuries Manor or his wife suffered from the 2011 crash or if they remained married.
Manor hired Gray to kidnap Wright, according to the district attorney's office. Wright disappeared on Jan. 11, 2018. "Concerned family members checked the victim's Rocklin home and a shop he rented in Rio Linda," the district attorney's office said. "When the victim remained missing, the search extended statewide." Two days later, Wright's brother, who was not identified, "encountered a strange man inside [Wright's] home and called the police," the district attorney's office said. "The man ran out of the house, but a soda cup filled with a fresh drink was found in the kitchen." Police tested the cup's straw for DNA, and a national database linked it to Gray. The California Highway Patrol pursued Gray's van on Jan. 27 in a high-speed chase, which ended in a crash that injured bystanders, the district attorney's office said. Inside the van, officers found a blood-soaked raincoat and Wright's wallet and other property, some which was charred, the office said. The blood's DNA matched Wright's.
Manor and Gray remain in custody at the Sacramento County Jail. They are scheduled to return April 28 to Sacramento County Superior Court for sentencing. The men each face a maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole, prosecutors said.