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Ray and Mary Jacoby met on the dirt track circuit, fell in love, and got married. Even after their marriage ended, they worked together at Ray’s scrapyard. It seemed like a happy ending for the two of them — until Ray ended up dead
Ray Jacoby had been racing cars since he was a teenager and became a fixture of the California dirt track scene. There, he met Mary, a trophy girl. They married in 1983 and relocated to Trout Creek, Montana.
“The goal was to go there and build Tusker Speedway, a dirt track,” Ron Jacoby, Ray's son, told "Snapped," airing Sundays at 6/5c on Oxygen. Unfortunately, the stresses of being in business together took a toll on the Jacobys' marriage.
“There was certainly some complaining about money from Mary’s side. Dad used a lot of her inheritance money for a part of the track,” Ron explained. “He was probably a little too giving and a little too easygoing ... when the track was done, it was free beer for all and it shouldn’t have been.”
After two decades of ups and downs, Ray and Mary divorced in 2003. Ray moved to Mexia, Texas, where he opened a salvage yard, Mexia Recycling Plant. He offered Mary a job and a place to live nearby.
Still seeking love, Ray began traveling to the Philippines in search of someone to spend the rest of his life with. After meeting Atina Cagadas, he stopped searching. He proposed to her and obtained a visa for Cagadas and arranged for her and her 10-year-old daughter to move to Mexia.
Cagadas and her daughter arrived in Texas in January 2011 and Ray showed Cagadas the ropes of the scrapyard business so she could work there. They had 90 days to get married before her visa expired, so they planned their wedding for April 4, 2011, Cagadas’s 31st birthday.
The wedding would never happen. On the morning of March 31, 2011, a frantic call came into Mexia 911. “I think he’s shot,” said the woman on recording of the phone call obtained by “Snapped.” “It’s Ray! Oh my god, hurry!”
Police rushed to the Mexia Recycling Plant, where they found Mary Jacoby outside the front gate. On the ground beside her was Ray Jacoby, dead at 56 from a gunshot wound to his chest, local newspaper the Waco Tribune-Herald reported in 2016.
A forensic pathologist would determine Ray was shot by a high-powered rifle, according to court documents. The bullet went straight through Ray’s heart and exited out the center of his back.
Police looked for the shooter in the sprawling scrapyard. There, they found a woman named Kayla, the 21-year-old girlfriend of Mary’s son Chapin. Chapin was incarcerated at the time and Mary allowed Kayla to stay in a trailer on the property.
Inside the office, police encountered Cagadas, who was busy cleaning, unaware of her fiancé’s death. Money and guns had been left behind, making a robbery unlikely.
Mary, Cagadas, and Kayla were brought to the station for questioning and to administer gun residue tests.
Kayla claimed she was asleep at the time of the murder and didn’t hear anything until police knocked on her trailer.
Cagadas said she overheard Ray talking to Mary early that morning. He was agitated because she had shown up early to work, interrupting his breakfast. She saw Mary sitting in her truck when Ray went out to let her in. While cleaning the office, she heard a loud bang.
Mary, meanwhile claimed she called Ray around 6:50 a.m. and arrived at the scrapyard about 15 minutes later. She said when she got there the front gate was open and Ray was lying face down on the ground making a gurgling sound.
Investigators asked Mary why her and Cagadas' timelines didn’t line up.
“She’s mistaken,” Mary says in her videotaped interview, which was obtained by “Snapped.” “If that would have been the case, I would have seen somebody. When I called Ray, I was still in my house.”
Investigators reviewed the call log on Mary’s phone and noticed a call at 6:01 a.m. Mary said it was a man named Dennis Killy who she was buying property from.
“Dennis was a former employee of the scrapyard,” Ellis County Sheriff’s Investigator Chip Hundley told “Snapped.” “A couple years prior to the murder he and Ray had actually gotten in a fistfight.”
This struck authorities as suspicious.
“We noticed this number had been calling her just about every day. Like, 32, 33 times,” Mexia Police Department Lieutenant Rodney Irvin told producers. “It came back to Dennis Killy.”
Mary said that at the time of the murder, Killy was over an hour away in Dallas. The GPS data on his phone, however, showed he was in Mexia that morning before traveling to his home in east Texas.
In speaking to former Mexia Recycling Plant employees, investigators also learned Ray and Mary had a volatile relationship. They fought often and Mary made her dislike of her ex-husband well known.
One former employee recalled a heated argument between Mary and Raymond where Mary picked up a pistol and said, “I’d kill that motherf--ker,” according to court documents. Another employee said Mary once turned to him in the middle of an argument with Ray and said, “I wish he was dead.”
Two weeks after Ray’s murder, two people, Robin and Kim Dabney, walked into the City of Mexia Police Department. What they told investigators would narrow the focus of the investigation.
“A year and a half ago, Mary offered me $30,000 to kill Ray,” Robin says in the videotaped interview, obtained by “Snapped.”
“She had made several comments, ‘If you don’t do it, somebody else will,'" Kim is heard saying in the background.
Robin claimed Mary pulled out $15,000 and said she’d pay him half now, half later. Robin declined the offer.
He also added that Mary was afraid Ray was “going to take everything away from her,” according to court documents, and claimed Mary hated Cagadas, calling her a “slut” and referring to her as a “fish head,” a derogatory term for Asians.
This spurred the search for Dennis Killy, and on July 6, investigators finally tracked him down. Killy initially cooperated with investigators. He said his fight with Ray was a misunderstanding over a used tire. As the interrogation continued, however, Killy clammed up.
“When we began to question him about past history with law enforcement, he just tensed up and he was like, ‘You know what? We need to end this interview,'" Irvin told producers.
After months of waiting, the gun residue test results came back in September 2011. They revealed that Mary either fired the gun that killed Ray Jacoby, handled it, or was in close proximity to it when it was fired, according to court documents.
Still, the case against Mary was mostly circumstantial. Prosecutors asked investigators to gather more substantial evidence before seeking an indictment.
In the interim, Mary tried to take over Ray’s scrapyard, but Ron would eventually assume control of his father’s business, leaving Mary without a job. After her son Chapin was released from prison in 2016, Mary moved 300 miles south to George West, Texas. Five years would pass without an arrest.
Finally, in May 2016, Mary Jacoby was indicted for murder and taken into custody, Temple, Texas NBC affiliate KCEN-TV reported at the time.
In the lead-up to the trial, investigators once again interviewed Dennis Killy, who had recently been released from jail.
“At that time he informed us that Mary had at some point prior to the murder actually asked him if he would kill Ray,” prosecutor Jeff James told producers. However, he didn't go through with it. Eventually, Mary decided to take matters into her own hands, prosecutors theorized.
Mary Elizabeth Jacoby went on trial for the murder of Ron Jacoby in October 2017. After deliberating for two hours, a jury found her guilty and she was sentenced to life in prison, Waco, Texas, CBS-affiliate KWTX. reported at the time.
Now 66, Jacoby is currently incarcerated at Christina Melton Crain Unit, a women’s prison in Texas.
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