The Duncan Banner

October 8, 2013

Judge orders Ray to be tried as adult

By The Banner Staff
The Duncan Banner

DUNCAN — A motion for certification as a juvenile was denied Monday by Judge Jerry Herberger, in the first degree murder case against Michael Ray, 16, who has been accused in the stabbing death of Alyssa Dawn Wiles, 14.

Ray will be tried as an adult.

Alyssa was discovered in her bed on the afternoon of June 10, by her father, Brad Wiles, upon his return home from work that day. Wiles was the first of three witnesses to take the stand.

Ray is represented by defense attorney Jim Berry who filed a last minute motion for juvenile certification within the hour prior to the preliminary hearing Monday in Stephens County District Court.  

“For all intents and purposes, he is a juvenile and he does have a juvenile history. It does not look like he’s ever been certified and considering the gravity of the charges of murder in the first degree, I request to suspend this hearing,” Berry said. It was noted during the proceedings that a competency hearing had been held Sept. 12, which ruled Ray was competent to stand trial.

By the end of the preliminary hearing, Herberger had heard enough testimony that he ruled that Ray would be bound over for arraignment in October.

“I feel he committed the crime,” Herberger said, after Berry made a motion to dismiss the charge. Herberger disagreed and overruled the motion, just as he did at the onset of the hearing in regards to the juvenile or youthful offender status request.

At the beginning of the hearing, more than 2 dozen family and friends filled the small courtroom, all wearing lime green and black. Lime green was Alyssa’s favorite color. Many also wore buttons showing the smiling face of the little girl who was killed at the beginning of the summer. The only Wiles family member not sitting in the courtroom was Alyssa’s father, who was sequestered for the hearing. Throughout the proceedings, the family remained quiet but the tears flowed and they took turns holding hands and silently comforting each other.

Ray, 16, was led into the courtroom in shackles, wearing an orange inmate jumpsuit. He looked at most of the family, including Alyssa’s mother, Angela, who sat in the front row.

Ray was seated at the defense table with his attorney. Berry immediately informed the court that he had filed at 9 a.m. on behalf of his client for a certification of juvenile or Youthful Offender status.

Stephens County District Attorney Jason Hicks, also wearing  a green tie, introduced Wiles once he was brought in to take the witness stand.

Wiles was found in her bed on the afternoon of June 10, by her father, Brad. He described how he found his daughter, and also the weekend’s events leading up to her death.

Wiles told the court that he had gone home around 8:10 a.m. that Monday morning to retrieve his wife’s car keys. He said he saw Ray walking along on the street and waved, but the boy did not return the gesture. He didn’t think it odd and knew his daughter had broke up with Ray the night before. He also talked about how they had taken Ray and Alyssa out for a supervised date on June 8, to a movie and dinner at Applebee’s.

It wasn’t until after he arrived home, near 4:30 p.m. that he discovered his daughter in her bed and called 911.

Also on the witness stand in the morning was Lt. Detective Joe Shoemake with the Duncan Police Department, who interviewed Ray three times in the first two days of the investigation. His investigative notebook became a focal point for Berry who examined it and insisted on entering it as an exhibit. Herberger denied the request.

Berry also questioned Shoemake on the interviews, but the detective cited that in a murder case, the state allows questioning of a 15, 16 or 17-year old without the presence of their custodial parents.

Earlier in the hearing when Berry was trying to convince the judge of juvenile certification, Hicks told the court, “I think the legislation is crystal clear that the subject be held accountable as an adult.”

Shoemake did tell the court that Ray appeared much more cold and callous in the second interview on the day after Alyssa’s death. And in the third interview later that night, he allegedly revealed details about the murder.

Hicks asked Shoemake what Ray told him.

Shoemake said Ray first accused his friend of stabbing Alyssa, but then changed his story and admitted to killing her because she broke up with him. He said Ray shared the details, but then broke down and said he held her as she took her last breath.

Shoemake also said Ray had asked for two favors — one was to attend Alyssa’s funeral and the other, Shoemake said that Ray said he couldn’t say — but wrote it down on a piece of paper. Hicks asked Shoemake to reveal what Ray allegedly wrote.

“Lethal injection.”

It was noted by Berry that the words were misspelled, to which Shoemake agreed.

The third witness was Ray’s friend, a 14-year-old who boy, who is being held in Comanche County Juvenile Detention Center. He is charged as a juvenile with accessory to murder. He was in wrist and ankle cuffs while on the stand. He did not have any family in the courtroom. It also appeared Ray did not have family there to show support.

While it was mostly only family and friends for the Wiles side in the morning, the afternoon proceedings appeared to attract more attention. A local bail bondsman and other private practice attorneys attended the hearing, and several individuals were standing along the back wall to listen.

During questioning of the juvenile, Hicks asked him repeatedly if he knew why they were headed to Alyssa’s home on June 10. The young boy denied having any knowledge or conversation with Ray on their way to Alyssa’s home that morning, or later. The 14-year-old said he thought he had heard Ray mumble under his breath when they arrived, that he was going to kill Alyssa. He testified he didn’t think anything of the comment. Many times he changed his answers on the stand, citing he was confused about a question. The juvenile testified he had attended Marlow Middle School, but had been homeschooled last year and had only recently moved to Duncan.

He said he only became suspicious as the day went on when Alyssa didn’t reply to text messages. He said when they went to her home, he didn’t see that Ray had a knife until Ray scaled the back fence to go into the home. He said he didn’t hear any noise from the house. Shoemake had testified earlier that Ray said he had startled Alyssa but that she only screamed once.  

Other testimony from the juvenile detailed the two boys burying the knife, and that Ray had used the lawnmower to run over his clothes and burn them. The juvenile said he did not see any blood on Ray when he came out of the Wiles home through the front door.

Ray’s arraignment hearing has been set for 9 a.m. Oct. 17, in the courtroom of Judge Joe Enos.