Ryan Frederick Verdict:

Voluntary Manslaughter

[The Jury] also convicted him of simple possession of marijuana.

In the process, the group opted against the two most serious charges filed against the 29-year-old – capital murder and manufacturing marijuana. Voluntary manslaughter carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. Marijuana possession is a misdemeanor, with a maximum sentence of 12 months in jail and a $2,500 fine.

I have to say I’m not exactly pleased with the verdict, but given the vagaries of Virginia law, and the circumstances of the case, I can understand it.

[UPDATE] This just in: Jury recommends maximum sentence:

A Chesapeake jury called for a maximum sentence of 10 years for Ryan Frederick, convicted earlier today of voluntary manslaughter the 2008 slaying of Detective Jarrod Shivers during a drug raid.

Now I DEFINITELY hope he appeals. Ten years? For defending his home? What a travesty.

[/UPDATE]

[UPDATE2] Looks like an appeal is imminent.

Frederick’s attorney, James Broccoletti, though grateful his client didn’t get a capital murder conviction, agreed that this was not a “heat of passion” killing.

He vowed to appeal, saying the 10-year maximum sentence reflected the jury’s “outrage and emotion” but ignored his client’s clean record and character.

“This case isn’t over by a long shot,” he said.

Good

[/UPDATE2]

The possession conviction I have no quibbles about. That one was pretty cut and dried. The state flat out failed to prove that he was manufacturing; lacking a conviction on the felony drug charge, there were no grounds for the “using a firearm in the commission of a felony” charge.

The “voluntary manslaughter” charge is debatable, but he did fire before the attackers had gained entry and were still outside the house, he did fire without having a clear target and he wasn’t completely innocent, so he cannot claim that there was no reason for him to think it COULD be Police…even if he didn’t hear the announcement.

As I said, I don’t agree with the conviction, but I can understand why they convicted.

I fear, however, that the Chesapeake Police Department are going to use the conviction for justification to deny any culpability in this affair. They will self-righteously claim that the conviction proves that they did nothing wrong, and they may even (cue the irony music) use the death of Detective Shivers as further “evidence” that dynamic raids are justified “for the safety of Police Officers”.

This entire situation was caused by a poorly conceived, poorly executed and completely unnecessary violent “raid” which is accepted police procedure throughout this country; which means that more good and decent Police Officers and more innocent (and not-so-innocent) citizens are going to die, or have their lives destroyed unnecessarily. These types of situations are going to continue to occur until we, as a citizenry, demand that it stop.

I’m not holding my breath.

I don’t know if Frederick will appeal or not, I must say that this statement from his attorney (from the same story linked above) doesn’t seem to indicate that he will:

“I think it’s a very fair and very rational verdict by the jury. I think it demonstrates that they applied reason, thought and common sense and sound judgment in what was a very emotional case,” defense attorney James Broccoletti said.

At any rate, I’ll let you know when I hear anything about sentencing.

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