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Prosecution shows initial interrogation with man charged with attempted murder

At Friday's attempted murder trial, prosecutors showed a video of Thomas Kermit Ray Jr. being questioned by police just after he was released from the hospital.
Thomas Kermit Ray Jr., 42, of the 700 block of Central Avenue in Sykesville, is charged with two counts of attempted first-degree murder, two counts of attempted second-degree murder, two counts of first-degree assault, two counts of second-degree assault, two counts of using a handgun in a felony and two counts of reckless endangerment.
On Jan. 21, he pointed a gun at both his estranged wife Diana Fitek and then-boyfriend Derrick Blackstone after sending threatening text messages, emails, voicemails and notes for two days, according to evidence shown at the trial. The gun was fired in a scuffle between Blackstone and Ray in Ray and Fitek's home, but the bullet went into the wall.
Blackstone gained control of the gun and hit Ray multiple times before police came, according to trial testimony. Ray was transported to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center, and then questioned by Trooper Amanda Voggenreiter and Trooper Michael Winkelspecht, both of the Maryland State Police.
Voggenreiter testified at Friday's court hearing that each witness was separated. While Blackstone and Fitek gave consistent statements, Ray's was not consistent.
The video for Ray's initial statement was cut in several parts. One part was cut due to dead air when police officers left the interview room to take phone calls, and another part was cut for irrelevant information. The video was split into two parts because of an error with the video system.
When the first part of the video ended, both Winkelspecht and Voggenreiter were still in the interrogation room. Winkelspecht stepped out for a call into another room where the audio-visual equipment is located and bumped into the equipment, he said in testimony. He had to restart the system and approximately 10 minutes of the interview were lost, Voggenreiter said.
Voggenreiter testified she was unable to retrieve the video and had to make several phone calls to the manufacturer. When the manufacturer retrieved the video, additional time was cut, which is why the two are interrogating Ray together when the video ends, she said.
Voggenreiter testified she was unaware the video equipment stopped working, and Winkelspecht did not tell her until after the full interview.
In the interview, Ray said he was shocked to learn that Fitek was leaving him.
"I didn't understand what caused her to make such a rash decision," he said in the video.
He said he hid his car in order to see her and didn't initially have the gun on him. While he said in the video that Blackstone was confrontational with him, which caused him to grab his gun, Blackstone and Fitek testified that Ray initially pointed the gun at the both of them.
Ray also said in the initial interrogation that he did not leave a note on Fitek's car Sunday morning, Jan. 20, which included both racial and threatening language. When asked if he said anything about killing Fitek and Blackstone, Ray said it was figuratively speaking, not realistically speaking.
"Like my parents would say, 'If you do that again I'm going to kill you,'" he said, giving an example to police.
In the video, he told police a lot of what he said was just angry, but he did not mean any of the threats he said. He said the gun was used as a scare tactic against Blackstone and he had no intention of shooting anyone in the video.
Ray forged Fitek's signature for three checks from her bank account, which totaled more than $3,000 and had approximately $500 in cash on him at the time, according to evidence shown at the trial. He said in the initial interrogation that it was to protect himself in case she were to clean out his bank account.
"Each one is a separate instance," he said in the video. "I was just trying to take care of myself piece by piece."
Ray's defense attorney, Thomas Hickman, said Winkelspecht was particularly aggressive in his accusations.
After the state rested its case, Hickman made a motion for acquittal of all charges except for reckless endangerment.
"This really is a divorce case. It's not an attempted murder case," Hickman said. "There was not an expressed intent on this day, at this time, in this circumstance."
While the presiding judge, the honorable Judge Michael M. Galloway, conceded Hickman had some points in regard to forcing someone out of the home, he denied the motion.
"All those things in my mind are jury questions," he said.
The case will continue Monday at 9:45 a.m. in circuit court.

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