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Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Trinity Trails attacker sentenced to 50 years in prison

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Today in the 372nd District Court, Justin Lacey Ray, 23, was sentenced to 50 years in prison for the September 2017 attack on a female jogger on the Trinity Trails, and 20 years for another attack two weeks prior.

In the September case, Ray was first spotted on the Trinity Trails by another witness at approximately 5:30 pm, sitting on a bench wearing black shorts. He removed his clothes and started riding his bike in circles around her, so she left the area to call police. Around 30 minutes later, the female victim was walking near the tennis courts on the trail when she saw him sitting nearby, naked. She began jogging in the opposite direction and hung up from a phone call with a friend to dial 911. Ray jumped on his bike, caught up with her and kicked her. She told him she was calling 911, at which time he threw her phone in the river, tackled her and began beating her. The victim resisted as Ray pinned her to the ground, punched and choked her, at one point telling her he was attacking her for calling 911. The victim managed to bite Ray and struggle free, fleeing to a nearby neighborhood where she flagged down a passing car. The driver immediately called police. Another individual walking on the other side of the river who saw a portion of the attack also called 911.

“This was a heinous, completely random attack. Law enforcement and first responders involved in this case all share it was one of the most violent beatings they had ever seen someone survive,” said prosecutor Kevin Boneberg. “An entire community of strangers came together in their horror over this, to assist in the prosecution of this predator, and ensure the victim would have a chance to heal.”

Two weeks prior, Ray attempted to sexually assault another young woman near a Fort Worth dog park, taking the small knife she carried to defend herself and brandishing it against her. Following the first Trinity Trails incident, residents also reported seeing someone matching Ray’s description multiple times wearing a mask and mutilating small animals. Ray later admitted to police he was also responsible for these incidents. Ray was ultimately caught by law enforcement when a later story in the media reminding residents to be on the lookout for the suspect led to his capture. Once arrested, Ray told police he had wanted to kill the victim on the trails.

“It was evident from the sheer brutality and sadistic nature of his actions that he was Ted Bundy in the making,” said prosecutor Paul Nguyen. “These attacks were extremely traumatizing to the victims. They were both pleased with the outcome and relieved that they would not have to relive these painful experiences by testifying at trial. That trauma and pain further extended to all of those who witnessed any part of these horrific and appalling events.”

Ray pled guilty to Attempted Capital Murder, Aggravated Sexual Assault, and Aggravated Assault in Retaliation for the Trinity Trails attack, for which he received 50 years in prison. He pled guilty to Attempted Aggravated Sexual Assault for the dog park attack two weeks’ prior and received 20 years in that case, the maximum. He will also have to register as a sex offender for the remainder of his life.- from the Tarrant County District Attorney’s office.

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