Acting Essex County Prosecutor Theodore N. Stephens, II, and Montclair Police Chief Todd Conforti announced today that James R. Ray, III, 55, of Montclair has been captured in Cuba and returned to New Jersey to face murder charges for fatally shooting Angela M. Bledsoe, 44, also of Montclair.
“Today we have in custody James R. Ray, III, who is charged with the murder of Angela Bledsoe, the mother of his daughter, and the woman with whom he shared a home on North Mountain Avenue in Montclair,’’ said Acting Essex County Prosecutor Stephens.
“The defendant was apprehended in Cuba before he could go through customs. Working with our federal and international law enforcement partners we were able to identify him as our suspect and arrange to have him returned to New Jersey. He arrived back in the state last night,’’ Acting Prosecutor Stephens said.
This case is unique because of the extraordinary cooperation and coordination among local, county, state, national and international law enforcement, Acting Prosecutor Stephens emphasized.
“I want to commend our law enforcement partners at every level for their professionalism and willingness to work with us to successfully bring this defendant back to New Jersey to face justice,’’ said Acting Prosecutor Stephens.
“The FBI appreciates the cooperation and collaboration by local, state, and federal partners, especially the Department of Homeland Security, which have made the return of James Ray III possible,” said Special Agent in Charge Gregory W. Ehrie. “This arrest reflects the commitment of the FBI to work with our law enforcement partners around the world to ensure that criminals who try to escape prosecution are forced to answer for the crimes they committed.”
“The return of James Ray is a direct result of the outstanding law enforcement partnerships that HSI shares here in New Jersey,” said Brian Michael, Special Agent in Charge, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Newark.
Ray is expected to make his first court appearance on Tuesday, Nov. 13 before Judge Martin G. Cronin, Judge of the Superior Court, to determine if he will be detained.
Acting Prosecutor Stephens credited the Montclair Police Department, the Allentown, Pa. Police Department, the New Jersey State Police, the FBI, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Coast Guard, Enforcement and Removal Operations Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Embassy in Havana for the successful capture of Ray.
The investigation remains active and ongoing. These are accusations. All defendants are presumed innocent unless and until they enter a guilty plea or are found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office Homicide/Major Crimes Task Force tips line at 1-877-TIPS-4EC or 1-877-847-7432.