Two men, 28, have been charged with the New Year’s Day slayings of Bryan Harvey, singer/guitarist for the Eighties blues-based rock duo House of Freaks, as well as his wife and two young daughters. Ray J. Dandridge and Ricky Gray, who were arrested on Saturday in Philadelphia for the Richmond, Virginia, killings, are also charged with the January 9th murder of another area family.
While Gray had until recently been a telemarketer for a Pittsburgh police association, Dandridge was released from a Richmond correctional facility in November after serving ten years for robbery. Police believe that robbery was the motive for last Friday’s murders, and may have been the motive for the January 1st killings. The men may also have been involved in another nearby robbery, in the Chesterfield County suburb.
Harvey, 49, and his family were discovered after Johnny Hott, formerly the drummer for the defunct band, arrived to attend a New Year’s Day party and discovered the house was on fire. Firefighters called to the scene discovered the bodies in the basement. The victims had been bound and their throats cut.
Harvey and Hott formed House of Freaks in 1984, with a minimalist sound and lineup that foreshadowed latter-era blues rock duos like the White Stripes and Black Keys. Beginning with 1987’s Monkey on a Chain Gang, House of Freaks released five albums and scored a leftfield radio hit with 1992’s “Rocking
Chair” before disbanding in the mid-Nineties. Harvey also collaborated with Hott and former Dream Syndicate singer Steve Wynn in the early-Nineties band Gutterball. He performed with his most recent group, NrG Krysys, on New Year’s Eve in Richmond.
Gray and Dandridge were captured by local officers and a SWAT team. The suspects are scheduled to be extradited to Virginia as early as Monday.