NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A man charged in the killing of an ODU student in 2011 has been found guilty of conspiracy, but not murder. He was not in the courtroom when the verdict was read, and remained at large Thursday afternoon.
On Wednesday afternoon, a jury convicted Rashad 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 in the shooting death of Chris Cummings.
James Cummings sat through the six-day trial and 12 hours of jury deliberations that stretched over two days.
“We’re just happy it wasn’t a hung jury,” the victim’s father said following the verdict, referring to the mistrial declared in August for Dooley’s codefendant Javon Doyle. “We’re happy that we’re able to go forward and get something out of this.”
Dooley was charged with first-degree murder and 12 other felonies in the killing of Cummings and the wounding of Jake Carey, Cummings’s roommate at the home they rented on West 42th Street.
Dooley was not in the court when the verdict was announced. 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?”
This resulted in Judge Michelle Atkins revoking Dooley’s bond and issuing a warrant for his arrest. That warrant was still active as of Thursday. Norfolk Commonwealth’s Attorney Ramin Fatehi said his office would be filing a charge for felony failure to appear.
“We beat first-degree murder, and he was found not guilty on 10 charges. Obviously, we are very pleased about that, but extremely disappointed that he was found guilty on three,” Korslund said.
In his closing argument Tuesday, Korslund said the arrests of Dooley and three others 10 years after the death of Cummings was politically motivated, the result of pressure to revitalize a high-profile cold case.
“Seeking justice for a murder victim is never political,” said Norfolk Commonwealth’s Attorney Ramin Fatehi following the verdict. “We hope this brings some closure for the Cummings and Carey families.”
“(We’re remembering Christopher) like we do every day,” Cummings said about his son. “He was a great kid, a great young man,” Cummings said, and talked about the vigil he has kept since his son’s death. “We have a picture that I kiss every night.”
Dooley’s sentencing is set for December where he faces up to 30 years behind bars.
Cummings was the nephew of Elijah Cummings, the late congressman from Maryland.
Dooley was 18 back in June 2011. He was the youngest of four codefendants in the death of Cummings, arrested 10 years later in August of last year. Charges were eventually dropped against two of the men, leaving Dooley and Doyle as the only remaining defendants.
Doyle’s jury trial is scheduled to begin on Jan. 31, 2023.
Check WAVY.com for the latest updates.