Montclair Lawyer James Ray III Convicted Of Murder

A 60-year-old Montclair lawyer has been convicted of murder in the 2018 death of the mother of his 6-year-old daughter, authorities announced.

James Ray III has been convicted in the killing of Angela Bledsoe.
James Ray III has been convicted in the killing of Angela Bledsoe. Photo Credit: Essex County Jail/Angela Bledsoe Facebook

James R. Ray III was found guilty of first-degree murder and weapons offenses following a six-week trial before Superior Court Judge Verna G. Leath, Acting Essex County Prosecutor Theodore N. Stephens, II said Friday, May 12.

The murder occurred nearly five years ago in the house the couple shared with their daughter on North Mountain Avenue in Montclair, when Ray shot Angela Bledsoe, 44, in the chest, face, and back, after she dropped the girl at school on Oct. 18, 2018, said Assistant Prosecutor Michele Miller, who tried the case along with Assistant Prosecutor John Petillo. 

Ray then prepared several documents and went to a local bank, where he withdrew checks and cash. He picked his daughter up from school and dropped her off with his brother at a New Jersey restaurant, then asked his brother to take care of his daughter before abruptly leaving.

Ray traveled through the southwestern United States and into Mexico, where he booked a flight to Cuba. Ray was returned to the United States by U.S. law enforcement officials on Nov. 6, 2018. He has been in custody at the Essex County Correctional Facility since then.

Ray was raised in Brooklyn and spent two years as a New York City police officer before earning an M.B.A. and going to law school. He also served in the U.S. Marines.

On the day of her death, Bledsoe had a meeting scheduled with a Realtor to find a place of her own; she was planning to move out of the house she shared with Ray.

Prosecutor Miller praised the jury for their hard work and patience over the course of the 6-week trial and said she was pleased to have Ms. Bledsoe’s parents in the courtroom when the verdict was read. “They waited a long time for this day,” said Miller, “and they finally got justice for Angela.”

Assistant Prosecutor Petillo praised the jury’s verdict and said he’s grateful that the State was able “to deliver justice to Angela Bledsoe’s family.”

Ray and Bledsoe’s daughter remains with her family members. Having waited nearly five years for the trial to begin, a large group of Bledsoe’s family and friends filled the courtroom. After the verdict was read, Ray Bledsoe, Angela’s father, said he was thankful to Miller for doing “outstanding work.”

Sentencing is set for June 22.

to follow Daily Voice Mahwah-Ramsey and receive free news updates.