James R. Ray III, a Montclair lawyer who was found guilty of murder in the 2018 shooting death of his girlfriend of nine years at their home on North Mountain Avenue, has died.

Ray, 60, was facing a maximum sentence of life in prison for the murder of Angela Bledsoe. His sentencing had been scheduled for June 22.

Essex County Chief of Staff Phil Alagia said in a statement: “On Sunday, June 18, a medical emergency call was initiated at the Essex County Correctional Facility. Inmate James Ray III, 60, was transported to University Hospital in Newark, where he was pronounced dead. Following protocol, the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office was contacted immediately and an investigation by the Prosecutor’s Office and the ECCF Internal Affairs is being conducted. A cause of death will be determined by the Medical Examiner’s Office.”

Robert Florida, spokesman for the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, said: “We have confirmed that James Ray has died, though the cause and manner are not known. An autopsy is pending, and our Professional Standards Bureau is conducting the investigation.”

Ray was convicted of first-degree murder, unlawful possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose on May 13. An Essex County jury took only three hours to find Ray guilty of murder in the shooting death of Bledsoe at their Montclair home.

— Liz George