• New England's Unsolved: Benny Raye

    By: Bob Ward

    Updated:

    BOSTON - On June 21, 2002, Boston lost a treasure. 

    Benny Raye, US Veteran, husband, father, grandfather, brother, was shot to death right in front of his home on Morton Street.

    Boston Police believe he was killed over his moped. 

    "This is a tough one. It's a heartbreaker," Boston Police Sgt Detective William Doogan told me recently. Sgt. Detective Doogan answered the call to Morton street seventeen years ago, and he still has the case today. 

    "Benny was a good guy," Doogan told me. "He had a family, he wasn't hurting anybody. He was a straight up, 100%, a victim."

    Benny Raye was proud of his country. He served in the United States Air Force. And later, he served in the US Army Reserves.

    On the day he was killed, Benny was working at the State House in Boston. He had a maintenance job, and he loved it.

    At the end of his shift, Benny hopped on his moped and drove across town.

    On the way home, Benny figured out that his hand light was malfunctioning. So, when he got to his home at 640 Morton Street, Benny parked his bike on the sidewalk and walked up to his front porch where he had a set of tools. 

    Benny was the kind of guy to want to fix something right away. 

    While Benny was gathering his Allen wrenches, he heard someone jump on his moped and try to start it. 

    Benny flew down the stairs, confronted the man, and the fight began.

    Benny was a big guy, over six feet tall. 

    In the fury of the fight, Benny fell backward.

    The thief pulled out a gun, shot Benny twice, and ran off down Morton Street.

    Benny's wife, Sonia Raye, heard the shots in the couple's third-floor apartment. At first, Sonia thought someone was lighting off firecrackers. 

    Sonia ran down the stairs and cradled her dying husband's head in her hands. 

    "I picked up his head in my hand. I said, 'We called the ambulance, they're coming, they are right up the street. I said hold on,  hold on,  hold on," Sonia recalled. 

    Benny Raye never spoke to his wife, he died of his injuries a short time later. 

    The passage of seventeen years has not dulled the pain for Benny Raye's widow. "I think about it every day," Sonia Raye told me.  

    "I don't really talk about it too much."

    Sgt Detective Doogan tells me witnesses saw Benny's killer run down Morton Street towards Wilcox Street. He ran through an alley and was last seen on Johnston Road.

    The description of Benny's killer is very basic: an African American male. Late teens, early twenties, medium build. 

    There is evidence in the case. The killer dropped a gun magazine that contained live bullets. There is some forensic evidence from the killer's struggle with Benny. But it's not enough. Boston Police need someone to step forward.

    "This is almost 17 years ago," Sgt. Detective Doogan said. "It's hard for me to fathom that in the past 16 plus years, nobody has shot off their mouth to somebody else. There's somebody out there who knows something."

    I recently sat down with Benny's family at St. John Missionary Baptist Church. It's where Benny Raye's funeral was held. 

    Benny's sister, Barbara Pittman, told me, "I don't get angry. I get down on my knees, and I pray. Because being angry is not going to help it." 

    Sonia Raye added, "I know, one way or another, whoever that person is, will come to justice. Maybe not in my lifetime. But, one way, sooner or later, there will be justice."

    If you can help identify  Benny Raye's killer, please call Boston Police Crime Stoppers at 1.800.494.TIPS. 

    You don't have to give your name. It's the information police need. 

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