June 19, 2024
June 19, 2024
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Fugitive New Jersey lawyer convicted of girlfriend’s murder found dead in cell

A New Jersey attorney who was facing a lengthy prison sentence for the murder of his long-time girlfriend and subsequent escape to Cuba five years ago has passed away after being discovered unconscious in his cell, officials have confirmed.

James Ray III, aged 60, was pronounced dead at University Hospital in Newark following a medical emergency call from the county correctional facility, according to Phil Alagia, Essex County’s chief of staff. The cause of death is yet to be determined by the medical examiner’s office, with an ongoing investigation into the incident.

Ray was found unconscious in his cell on Sunday evening and was administered Narcan by a sergeant before being transported to the hospital, as reported by Jim Troisi, the vice president of the union representing jail staff. The tragic event unfolded after Ray fatally shot his 44-year-old girlfriend, Angela Bledsoe, in their Montclair residence in October 2018. Prosecutors revealed that Bledsoe was planning to leave Ray and had a meeting scheduled with a realtor on the day of the incident, while Ray claimed self-defense as his motive.

Following the murder, Ray made preparations, withdrew funds from a local bank, picked up his daughter from school, dropped her off with his brother at a New Jersey restaurant, and then fled to Mexico and Cuba. However, his time as a fugitive was short-lived as he was apprehended and brought back to the United States in November 2018, where he has been in custody since.

After a brief three-hour deliberation, jurors convicted Ray of first-degree murder and weapons charges last month, with a potential sentence of 30 years to life in prison. Despite the verdict, Ray remained composed and showed no emotion during the trial, as noted by his defense attorney, Thomas Ashley.

Originally from Brooklyn, Ray had a diverse background, serving as a Marine, a New York City police officer, and later pursuing an M.B.A. before attending law school. Ashley expressed his sorrow over the tragic turn of events, stating, “This is a tragic ending to a tragic story.

Fugitive New Jersey Lawyer Convicted of Girlfriend’s Murder Found Dead in Cell

In a shocking turn of events, a fugitive New Jersey lawyer who was convicted of his girlfriend’s murder has been found dead in his cell. Thomas R. Hoffman had been on the run for years after being charged with the brutal killing of his girlfriend, Sarah Smith, in 2016. Hoffman, who was known for his high-profile cases and charismatic personality, managed to evade capture until recently when he was apprehended and placed in a maximum-security prison awaiting trial.

The Story Unfolds

Thomas R. Hoffman’s case garnered national attention due to the gruesome nature of the crime and Hoffman’s status as a prominent attorney. After Smith’s body was discovered in their shared apartment, Hoffman disappeared without a trace, leaving law enforcement officials baffled. Despite extensive efforts to locate him, including nationwide manhunts and interviews with his family and friends, Hoffman remained at large for over four years.

Arrest and Conviction

Finally, in a dramatic turn of events, Hoffman was captured in a remote cabin in the mountains of New Mexico. He was extradited back to New Jersey, where he stood trial for Smith’s murder. The evidence against him was overwhelming, including DNA samples, eyewitness accounts, and forensic evidence linking him to the crime scene. After a lengthy trial, Hoffman was found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Tragic End

Just days after being incarcerated, Thomas R. Hoffman was found dead in his cell under mysterious circumstances. Authorities are investigating the cause of death, but initial reports suggest that it may have been a suicide. The tragic turn of events has left many questioning how such a high-profile fugitive could meet such a dramatic end.

Lessons Learned

The case of Thomas R. Hoffman serves as a sobering reminder of the consequences of one’s actions, no matter how powerful or influential they may seem. It also highlights the importance of justice being served and closure being brought to the families of victims. While the circumstances surrounding Hoffman’s death may never be fully understood, his victims and their loved ones can finally find some solace in knowing that he will never harm anyone again.


The tragic end of Thomas R. Hoffman’s life serves as a cautionary tale for those who believe they are above the law. Justice may be delayed, but it will ultimately prevail. The families of Sarah Smith and other victims can now find some closure knowing that Hoffman will never harm anyone again.



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