Nearly 15 years after gunfire erupted at a musical event and barbeque at Lowry Park in Aurora, the Colorado Supreme Court has upheld the conviction of Robert Ray in the attempted murder of Elvin Bell and Javad Marshall-Fields.
Marshall-Fields and Gregory Vann organized the free public event on July 4, 2004. At some point in the evening, Marshall-Fields confronted Ray about his behavior at the event. Ray’s close friend Sir Mario Owens became involved in the dispute.
In the confrontation, Owens shot Vann, who was killed.
As Owens ran to a car to flee, Marshall-Fields and Bell chased him. Both were shot but survived their injuries.
On Nov. 2, 2006, an Arapahoe County District Court jury found Ray guilty of attempted first-degree murder and first-degree assault for the shootings of Marshall-Fields and Bell. The same jury also found Ray guilty of being an accessory to the murder of Vann.
Ray was sentenced Feb. 8, 2007, to 108 years in the Department of Corrections.
But Marshall-Fields did not live to see that. Ray and Owens killed him and his fiancé, Vivian Wolfe, on June 20, 2005. They wanted to make sure he did not testify at that trial.
“This Supreme Court ruling affirms what the jury knew 12½ years ago: Ray shot Javad and Elvin that night in Lowry Park. The Court of Appeals ruled Ray got a fair trial, and now so has the highest court in Colorado,” said District Attorney George Brauchler. “The appellate system moves slowly, but it moves towards justice. I credit Javad’s mother, Sen. Rhonda Fields, for her patience and steadfast resolve to see the process through to the end. She is an example to every victim of crime that our criminal justice system, though deliberately plodding, ultimately works and protects the Rule of Law.”
Sen. Fields was pleased at the Supreme Court’s ruling to uphold the Court of Appeals.
“My son saw a murder take place. Ray was trying to silence his testimony, five days before the trial was set. As his mother, I am a victim of a very horrific, horrible crime. You cannot put a cost on justice – you can’t measure what it takes to get justice.” Fields said.
She added: “ I raised my son to have the values that made him want to participate in the criminal justice system. He was doing what he knew was right, and I encouraged him in that. While I wish every day he was still with me, I am proud of the example he set for others who are asked to testify to bring violent criminals to justice.”