NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Rashad Dooley says he wasn’t running from the law when he failed to turn himself in to police following a conviction of conspiracy to commit murder. He was taking time to understand how he got implicated in a killing he says he didn’t take part in, and figuring out a way to explain to his children that he was going back to jail.

“The last 15 days, I’ve been trying to better understand how did I end up in this situation and explain to my family what I need them to do, and my kids why I’m going to be gone. Nobody can explain that other than me,” Dooley told 10 On Your Side’s investigative team in an interview at the Norfolk City Jail.

“In court, I just had an emotional breakdown and wanted to go talk to my kids and let them know. Couldn’t nobody explain it to them better than me that I was going back to jail again,” Dooley added.

29-year-old Dooley 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, attempted second-degree murder and other charges.

Dooley is the only one of the four who were originally charged in Cummings’ death to be convicted of any crimes associated with the killing. He had two co-defendants whose cases were dismissed. Another had a hung jury.

“I got convicted of conspiracy to commit murder and nobody got convicted of the original murder,” Dooley said.

“I’m the only one out of one other person that went to trial. The two people that they were bringing up at my trial the whole time, you didn’t even give them a court date. You dropped their charges on your own,” Dooley said.

Dooley said he’s innocent and that he’s never met Cummings.

“I wasn’t ever even seen on no scene. I never had no evidence. I got convicted off two inmates that I don’t know from a can of paint, and they never told any detail. They just told them that I told them I was the driver,” Dooley said.

“I never seen Christopher Cummings in my life,” Dooley said. “And Christopher Cummings never seen me in his life.”

Dooley was not in the courtroom when the verdict was read on Sept. 14. Dooley’s attorney Eric Korslund told the court he received a text from Dooley saying he “had to pick up his daughter, can you get the verdict for me?”

After the verdict, Dooley failed to turn himself in to police. He was arrested by Chesapeake police, sheriff’s deputies, and the U.S. Marshals on Friday in a parking lot in the 1300 block of Sam’s Drive. Dooley said he was at a bar getting some food and watching a football game.

“I actually was coming from the bar getting some food, that’s where they caught me at,” Dooley said. “They caught me at the bar getting some food. I’m not running from – I wasn’t running. If I was running, I would have been out of state hiding under a rock or something.”

Dooley said he plans to appeal his conviction.

“I understand that Mr. Cummings – I send my condolences to his family, but my family needs the same treatment as his family,” Dooley said. “Even though he’s passed away and I’m alive, it’s the same thing. It’s like you trying to take my life away from me.”

Dooley also had a message to his children and his family:

“I just want them to understand that it’s not over. Just cause circumstances put you in a place like this, never give up. I want them to understand that,” he said.

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