NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – Rashad Dooley, the man who skipped out on the verdict of his murder conviction, will not get a new chance to plead his innocence.
This comes after a judge on Friday denied Dooley’s attorney’s motions to vacate that verdict and to set a new trial.
Dooley, 29, was one of four men charged in the 2011 murder of Old Dominion University student Christopher Cummings and the wounding of his roommate, Jake Carey, at the home they rented on West 42nd Street in Norfolk.
On Sept. 14, a jury convicted Dooley of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit robbery, and attempted robbery. He was found not guilty on 10 other charges including first-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder. He was the only one convicted in relation to the murder.
Dooley’s attorney, Eric Korslund, argued in front of a judge that evidence presented in the case shouldn’t have been shown to the jury because at least one of the witnesses may have had the incentive to incriminate his client.
“A letter was introduced into evidence that he wrote and it stated a lot of prejudicial things that were irrelevant in my opinion,” Korslund told 10 on Your Side outside the courthouse.
That witness apparently received a sentencing reduction after the trial, something Korslund says the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office told him they weren’t pursuing.
“In this case, one of the inmates the commonwealth relied on — which they relied on inmates for their entire case–they had no other evidence besides what an inmate said for this entire case of all four gentlemen and it is conveyed to me that they are not going to ask that this witness get a time cut and that was conveyed to me by email prior to trial.”
Attorneys for the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office were quick to push back, saying that “no promises were made” to the witness in exchange for his testimony. They also clarified that communications with the Department of Justice pertaining to the sentencing reduction didn’t take place until after the trial.
They clarified to the judge the sentencing reduction was “because of his cooperation in an unrelated drug case that we had nothing to do with.”
Korslund argued that if he’d been notified about the sentencing reduction, he could have used that information to question the reliability of that witness in front of the jury, which could have led to a different verdict.
The judge set a sentencing hearing for February 10.