Durham man’s accused killers were his friends, sister says

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – The sister of a Durham man killed in October said the four men charged in his death were all friends with the victim.

Eric Ray was shot and killed as he walked home, police say. Click for more photos
Eric Ray was shot and killed as he walked home, police say. Click for more photos

Three of the four suspects charged with first-degree murder in Eric Ray’s death appeared before a judge Thursday.

Terrance Cradle, William Marrow, and Andrew Hilliard are being held without bond following their court appearance.

Charges are expected to come soon for a fourth suspect, Keith Laney.

The four men are accused of killing Eric Ray as he walked home in the 3700 block of Angier Avenue on Oct. 20.

“It’s been very hard. I’ve had a lot of sleepless nights. We had a lot of unanswered questions,” said Francine Ray, Eric’s sister.

Francine Ray said the arrests are a bittersweet comfort.

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Charges are pending against Laney
Charges are pending against Laney

“Right now, my brother cannot come back, but these four people, they won’t be running the streets anymore. They won’t be able to harm anyone anymore, that’s how it brings me peace,” she said.

For the victim’s sister, the pain cuts deep because she believed her brother and the suspects were friends.

“They were homeboys. They were friends, they hung around Cheek Road together. You seen one, you seen the other, and that’s why it hurt so much,” she said.

Francine Ray doesn’t know how the relationship went sour.

She said her brother was working to better himself, with a job, and by going to school.

Now he’s gone forever.

“His family gets to call them. They get to write them, they get to visit them, we don’t get that. Eric will not come back. I can’t go put money on his books like they can do the other boys,” she said.

Investigators will arrest and charge Laney at a later date because he is currently serving time in the North Carolina Department of Corrections.

According to Department of Public Safety online records, Laney was convicted last month of illegally possessing a gun. He previously spent more than three years in prison for robbery, kidnapping and burglary.

Cradle, Marrow and Hilliard are all being held in the Durham County Detention Facility.

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