Woman accused of killing adopted child asks her attorney to step down
By Suevon Lee
The Belleview woman accused of beating to death one of her six adopted children late last year will now be represented by the Public Defender's Office after her private attorney dismissed himself from the case.
Violet Ray wanted him to step down after expressing concern about the time he could spend defending her, attorney Michael Johnson told Circuit Judge Jonathan Ohlman Tuesday.
"I certainly don't want to be in a case like this if I'm not wanted in a case like this," said Johnson, who also represented Ray in her termination of parental rights case.
In April, Ray, 35, was indicted on charges of first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse and child neglect. Her 2-year-old daughter, Faith Ray, died in December 2008 at Shands at UF, where doctors discovered bleeding on the brain, and bruising on her arms, chest and legs.
A sheriff's deputy first responded to a 911 hang-up call at Ray's home the evening of Dec. 5. The next morning, an ambulance was called to the home after the child stopped breathing.
In April, a state Department of Children and Families investigative summary found the infant had undergone a sustained beating that resulted in 20 points of blunt-force trauma to the head and 40 points of blunt-force trauma to the torso and extremities.
Ray was arrested at the end of a two-day trial in dependency court, where her parental rights, along with those of her husband, were revoked. Four of the Rays' adopted children were placed in a foster care home and another was placed in medical foster care, according to Cynthia A. Schuler, CEO of Kids Central Inc. Attorneys for the Rays have filed appeals.
Violet Ray has pleaded not guilty to her charges. On Tuesday, she also waived her right to a speedy trial. She remains out of custody after posting $135,000 bail with help from family members.
She declined comment prior to Tuesday's hearing. A status conference in her case has been scheduled for October.