After a nine-day trial, a jury in Buchanan County found a man guilty in the murder of his next-door neighbor.
The body of Ruby Gay Hurley, 68, was found inside her Vansant, Virginia home on June 18, 2018 during a welfare check by a deputy with the Buchanan County Sheriff’s Office.
Hurley’s body was partially decomposed. According to Buchanan County Commonwealth Attorney Gerald Arrington, the state medical examiner determined she died from “an eight- inch cut on her throat that severed the trachea and right carotid artery.” Hurley’s body also had blunt force trauma to her head.
Investigators found a blood-stained long-sleeve T-shirt and a ‘shake and bake’ bottle used to make methamphetamine.
Hurley’s next-door neighbor, Steven Ray Matney, 33, formerly of Hazel Park, Michigan, was found guilty of murder, robbery and use of a weapon in the commission of a felony.
Matney had worked odd jobs for Hurley and on the day of her murder she invited him to her home to eat pizza.
Matney then returned to his residence and told his girlfriend that he was going to hit Hurley in the head, rob her of $300 and some Xanax pills. Matney’s girlfriend saw purple latex gloves in his back pocket.
DNA evidence collected at the crime scene matched Matney.
Matney’s mother, Sheila Martin, was also charged in connection with murder and robbery of Hurley. Martin was indicted in 2016 on one count of robbery.
“Many of the jurors were moved to tears during testimony and closing arguments regarding what an appropriate sentence should be for Mr. Matney,” said Arrington. “It was clear that two families had suffered due to his actions. I believe that this jury was mindful of his age and his unfortunate upbringing and put a lot of weight in the defense’s argument that but for his mother, and co-defendant, Sheila Martin, Matney wouldn’t have been in Hurley’s trailer that day.”
The jury recommended that Matney receive a 27-year prison sentence.
“I am satisfied that this jury rendered a fair and just recommendation for Matney’s role in Hurley’s death, “said Arrington. “I hope and pray that this will bring some comfort and closure for Ruby Hurley’s family.”