DATE: May 1, 2023
CASE: Robert Manor & Victor Merle Gray (Case #21FE003868)
PROSECUTOR: Principal Criminal Attorney Matt Chisholm, Homicide Unit
On April 28, 2023, the Honorable James Arguelles sentenced Robert Manor and Victor Merle Gray to life in prison without the possibility of parole. On March 17, 2023, Manor and Gray were convicted by a jury of the first-degree murder of Raymond Wright, with the special circumstance that the murder was committed during the commission of a kidnapping. Manor and Gray were also convicted of kidnapping for ransom causing death.
In 2011, the victim was a DUI driver and caused a collision in which Robert Manor and his wife were seriously injured. The victim was prosecuted for felony DUI by the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office. The victim served his time and completed his probation. However, Manor held a grudge against the victim for years and put his plan for revenge into motion in 2018.
The victim was a resident of Rocklin, California. On January 11, 2018, the victim mysteriously disappeared. Concerned family members checked the victim’s Rocklin home and a shop he rented in Rio Linda. When the victim remained missing, the search extended statewide. On January 13, 2018, the victim’s brother encountered a strange man inside the victim’s home and called the police. The man ran out of the house, but a soda cup filled with a fresh drink was found in the kitchen. The straw from the cup was tested for DNA and uploaded to the CODIS database.
On January 27, 2018, Victor Gray was under the influence and led CHP on a high-speed chase. The chase ended in a crash, which caused injuries to innocent victims. Gray’s van was towed from the scene. When the van was searched, a blood-soaked raincoat, the victim’s wallet and other property belonging to the victim were found inside. Much of the property was charred and the blood on the raincoat matched the victim’s DNA. Further investigation revealed a letter from Gray to Manor complaining about not being paid for “delivering dude” and asked Manor to take care of the person “who hand delivered you your revenge.” Other evidence also linked Manor to the revenge killing and the hiring of Gray to kidnap the victim from his shop in Rio Linda. The DNA uploaded to CODIS then returned a full profile match to Victor Gray, who was a prior felon.
Raymond Wright’s body has never been found.
The investigation in this case was led by the Placer County District Attorney’s Office, the Rocklin Police Department with the involvement of many other regional law enforcement agencies as well as the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office.