[UPDATED with Details on Funeral, Arrests:] Jensen Gray is Fatally Stabbed; Childhood Pal Ryan Bright Held

See the update at the end of this post with details on the funeral and the arrest records of the victim and suspect.

jensen gray facebook.JPG
Jensen Gray / Facebook

ORIGINAL POST, JULY 12, 1:37 P.M.: Two apparent friends and former classmates at Laguna Beach High School were partying in an apartment near Santa Monica's Third Street Promenade early Wednesday when one of the men was stabbed.


Now, one pal has been arrested for the murder of the other, 27-year-old Jensen Gray of Laguna Beach.

My colleague Dennis Romero of our big sistah paper LA Weekly is all over this case like a homicide detective's cheap suit. And its small wonder. Murders in Santa Monica are big news, being as rare there as they are in, well, Laguna Beach, where the crime log is mostly crammed with reality-star jaywalking reports. This was Santa Monica's first slaying of 2012.

Police were called to the apartment at 425 Broadway at 3:25 a.m. Wednesday after
a 9-1-1 caller reported someone had been stabbed. Officers arrived to find Gray dead in the living room.

Details are sketchy beyond that. Witnesses reportedly confirmed to Santa Monica Police Department (SMPD) investigators that Gray and Bright knew one another and that for reasons not yet disclosed things turned violent between the two during a house party.

Police later identified the suspect as 26-year-old Ryan Taylor
of Santa Monica. At last word he was being held on suspicion of murder and in lieu of $1 million

Based on the Facebook pages of Gray and Bright, they had been FB friends up through that fateful morning.

The incident did not happen in a fleabag dive. Romero reports that what is known as the
Archstone Santa Monica Apartments “stands across the street from
celebrity-patronized clothing boutique Fred Segal.”

UPDATE, JULY 19, 9:38 A.M.: The public is invited to memorial services for 27-year-old Jensen Gray at 10 a.m. Friday at St. Catherine of Siena Church, 1042 Temple Terrace, Laguna Beach.

His mother describes Gray and Ryan Taylor Bright, the Santa Monica man suspected of killing Gray, as friends since childhood in Laguna Beach. “I don't know if we'll ever be able to understand what happened,” Kerry Gray reportedly told the Orange County Register.

The pair had run-ins with the law, the daily's Claudia Koerner reports: Gray pleaded guilty on several occasions between 2005-10 to drug and/or paraphernalia possession, drawing probation and jail time. He and Bright as co-defendants pleaded
guilty in 2007 to possessing and being under the
influence of drugs.

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