In 2012, 18-year-old Kentray Bailey was arrested for and ultimately wrongfully convicted of robbery, abduction, aggravated malicious wounding and three counts of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. Kentray has spent 9 years of a 59-year sentence in prison for a crime he did not commit.
Kentray did not receive a fair trial and has always maintained his innocence. At trial, the only evidence against Kentray was the victim’s testimony, which was gravely inconsistent at Kentray’s preliminary hearing, initial mistrial (resulting in a hung jury) and second trial. The victim claimed that he was ambushed, robbed, shot, beaten, and left for dead by Kentray and two co-defendants. However, the physical evidence presented at trial does not support these claims.
The investigator(s) at the Accomack County Sheriff’s Department and the Commonwealth’s Attorney Office did NOT collect or present any tangible, physical evidence to tie Kentray to the crimes. The investigation, or lack thereof, yielded NO firearms and NO shell casings. The investigator did NOT obtain any cell phone records. Although DNA swabs and fingerprints were collected, the investigator sent NOTHING to the lab for analysis. There was NO clothing, NO shoe impressions and NO tire impressions found. The trunk of the car that the victim was supposedly transported in after being shot multiple times had NO blood in it NOR any other evidence inside that was consistent with the victim’s story. The lead investigator did not believe the initial statement provided by the victim and coached him to produce a story that aligned with a “drug deal gone bad.” When asked why he did not seek the DNA results from the DNA samples he gathered from the victim’s car, the investigator illogically said that the reason was because the victim told him that he (the victim) had handled the CD case that had been swabbed.
Along with the investigator’s office refusing to test the DNA collected the victim contradicted himself each time he testified to the point that the lead investigator’s testimony at trial focused primarily on reconciling the various and inconsistent statements.
Along with no physical evidence tying Kentray to the crimes, Kentray presented a string of witnesses to establish a complete alibi defense for Kentray the night of April 16, 2011. His girlfriend’s mother testified that she remembered the night of April 16 because her daughter was with Bailey that afternoon as a storm began to form. Concerned by the clouds and increasing winds, she said that she called her daughter and arranged to come pick her up from Kentray’s house at 8:00pm. She said she waited in the driveway and when her daughter came out to the car, she saw Kentray in the doorway and waved to him. Her daughter corroborated this testimony. Two friends and Kentray’s brother all testified that they were with Kentray that night playing video games and only left once to buy snacks at a nearby convenience store. The burden of proof was clearly NOT met by Accomack County and no reasonable, unbiased jury would have found him guilty.
Since being incarcerated, Kentray Bailey has focused on his ability to help other people just as much as he has worked to demonstrate his innocence. Without success, Kentray pursued his appeals and retained counsel to file a habeas challenge to his attorney's trial performance.
With the assistance of his family, he formed a corporation called Courageously Strong, LLC. He is an author of five books, all of which have been published on Amazon. The clothing line Kentray has begun producing will help carry his messages of a positive spirit. While incarcerated, Kentray earned his General Equivalency Degree Certificate. He devotes his time to his projects of self-improvement, poetry, and inspirational outreach.