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Shane RAGLAND

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Sniper killing - Retaliation for helping to get him blackballed from the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: July 17, 1994
Date of arrest: July 14, 2000
Date of birth: 1973
Victim profile: Trent DiGiuro, 21 (University of Kentucky football player)
Method of murder: Shooting (.243-caliber Weatherby hunting rifle)
Location: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky, USA
Status: Sentenced to 30 years in prison on April 26, 2002. Conviction overturned on November 17, 2004. Pleaded guilty to manslaughter on August 26, 2007. Sentenced to time served - six years, including credit for 14 months of house arrest
 
 

 
 
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Timeline

July 17, 1994: University of Kentucky student Trent DiGiuro is slain in a sniper-style shooting while sitting on his front porch in Lexington.

January 2000: Nearly six years after the murder, an anonymous tip leads police to a suspect named Shane Ragland, a former UK student.

June/July 2000: The anonymous tipster — who turns out to be Ragland’s ex-girlfriend — agrees to assist investigators, recording a series of conversations with the suspect.

July 14, 2000: Police arrest Ragland in Frankfort and charge him with murder.

Aug. 17, 2000: Ragland is released from jail after his father — prominent Frankfort businessman Jerry Ragland — posts a $1 million bond.

March 11, 2002: The murder trial begins in Fayette County.

March 28, 2002: A jury convicts Ragland of murder and recommends a 30-year sentence, which the judge imposes. He will serve just over four years.

March 23, 2005: After filing numerous appeals, Ragland finally is successful; the Kentucky Supreme Court overturns his conviction, citing concerns over questionable ballistics evidence.

July 13, 2006: Jerry Ragland again posts a $1 million bond and his son is released from custody with an electronic-monitoring device pending a retrial.

Aug. 27, 2007: Prosecutors offer Ragland a deal after losing their star witness; the defendant pleads guilty to second-degree manslaughter and leaves court a free man.

Aug. 19, 2008: A Lexington jury awards the DiGiuros a record-setting $63.3 million in a wrongful death lawsuit filed against Ragland.


More legal troubles for Shane Ragland

By Dave Spencer - Wkyt.com

December 30, 2012

The man involved in one of the most notorious murder cases in Lexington is once again in trouble with the law.

Shane Ragland pleaded guilty in 2007 in the shooting death of UK football player Trent Diguiro.

Trent Diguiro was celebrating his 21st birthday when he was shot on his front porch in 1994.

In 2007, after years of court procedures and prison time, Shane Ragland pleaded guilty to lessor charges of manslaughter.

It was plea that set him free, credited for time served.

27 NEWSFIRST has learned, not long after that, Ragland apparently moved to Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, 370 miles away.

Reasons that are clear to the victim's father Mike Diguiro who sued Ragland and won.

Diguiro says Ragland owes him over 60 million dollars but because he now lives in Pennsylvania it's against the law to garnish wages in that state.

But apparently Ragland is unable to stay away from police. According to a Pennsylvania Court Clerk, Ragland spent 90 days in a Beaver County jail after police there got a call one rainy October morning in 2008 of a hit and run.

Shane Ragland was behind the wheel. According to court documents he had hit a telephone pole, and mail box and admitted to police he'd been drinking.

Ragland told police, "Look we both know I'm drunk... it's cold and raining... i don't want to do this."

Police took a blood sample. Ragland's alcohol level was .252, the legal limit in Pennsylvania is .08.

In February of 2009 Ragland started his 90 day jail sentence.

Just three weeks ago Ragland was cited by police, again. This time for harassment and driving on a suspended license.

Diguiro says he's always known Ragland's lifestyle would catch up with him.

He says, "he's already hurt enough people."

His latest run in with police is still an open investigation, therefore Pennsylvania Police would not go into detail as to why Ragland was cited for harassment.


Shot in the dark

Fifteen years ago, Trent DiGiuro was gunned down on his front porch. Today his killer is free

By Sarah Kelley - Leoweekly.com

July 8, 2009

It was almost 5 a.m. when the phone rang.

The call jarred Mike DiGiuro awake, and he fumbled for the telephone in the dark. The man on the line identified himself as a police dispatcher, and groggy confusion turned to panic.

Then came the matter-of-fact statement that changed life in an instant: “Mr. DiGiuro, I’ve got some bad news — your son Trent’s been killed.”

The dispatcher had no other details, instructing DiGiuro to call the coroner in Lexington.

“And that was it,” says DiGiuro, recounting the moment he and his wife, Ann, learned of their youngest son’s death. “There’s no good way to explain what happened next.”

The Oldham County couple would soon learn in excruciating detail what transpired two hours earlier on the front porch of 570 Woodland Ave., a blue, two-story house their son rented with several friends near the University of Kentucky campus.

That night, Trent DiGiuro had been celebrating his 21st birthday. A keg party at his house was winding down, and Trent was chatting with two friends on the front porch, sitting in his favorite brown leather recliner — a perfect fit for the 6-foot-2, 275-pound college football player.

Trent was laughing and talking about the upcoming season when a loud bang halted the conversation. Trent’s friends jumped up and panned the area, but saw nothing in the darkness. When they turned around, they saw Trent slumped in his big leather chair.

Police later determined that at 2:40 a.m. on Sunday, July 17, 1994, a gunman positioned himself underneath a dogwood tree at the corner of Woodland and Columbia avenues, a location that would have provided a clear line of fire and an easy escape. Two divots in the dirt at that spot suggested the shooter used a bi-pod rifle stand to steady his weapon. They believe the marksman then carefully aimed the rifle — likely a .243 with a right-twist barrel pattern — and pulled the trigger, releasing a copper-jacketed bullet that struck DiGiuro in the left ear, traveling through his skull and into his brain, killing him instantly.

What they did not know is who might have carried out this deadly act, a mystery that remained unsolved for nearly six years.

“There for a while we would call the detectives every couple of days and ask them what’s going on, then it was every week. Next thing you know, it was a year later,” says DiGiuro, adding that he always believed someone would eventually come forward with information about his son’s murder.

But for years it was only false leads that poured in, with detectives chasing down and ultimately discounting each one.

Then, in January 2000, Mike DiGiuro called to check on the status of the investigation, expecting to hear there was nothing new to report. “Instead the detective told me he had something and in fact, it was the only thing he was working on.”

Earlier that week, an anonymous source relayed a tip directing the lead detective to an unlikely suspect named Shane Ragland, the son of a wealthy Frankfort businessman who attended UK at the same time as Trent. Perhaps even more baffling than the prospect of this preppy computer whiz from an upper-class family committing murder was the supposed motive: a grudge that had festered since Trent DiGiuro took the blame for having him blackballed from a fraternity their freshman year.

It sounded implausible, but the deeper detectives delved into story, the more clues they uncovered suggesting Ragland was the killer.

“I always knew there was a reason, but I didn’t know if we’d ever know what it was. Then when we found out the reason — it was just so stupid,” says DiGiuro, sitting behind a desk strewn with papers on a recent weekday afternoon. Fiddling with a paperclip, he shrugs his shoulders and adds, “It just doesn’t make any sense.”

It has been 15 years since Trent DiGiuro was murdered, and his father says the long, arduous journey of seeking justice is not finished.

It is true Ragland was arrested and charged with murder. It is also true a jury found him guilty and sentenced him to 30 years. But with the help of a high-priced legal team, Ragland appealed the verdict, and his conviction ultimately was overturned. By then, the prosecution’s key witness would no longer cooperate and the case began to crumble. In the end, the Fayette County commonwealth’s attorney offered Ragland a sweetheart deal — plead guilty to second-degree manslaughter and walk out of the courthouse a free man.

The DiGiuros filed a wrongful death suit against Ragland, which Mike DiGiuro says is meant to ensure “this guy doesn’t live fat and happy on daddy’s money for the rest of his life.” Last August, it again appeared justice might prevail when a Fayette Circuit Court jury awarded a record-setting $63.3 million at a trial Ragland did not even bother to attend.

Then came another appeal, with Ragland claiming — ironically, through a well-compensated lawyer — that he is broke and that the judgment is excessive. The Kentucky Court of Appeals is considering his appeal.

“At this point, if I have to spend $1,000 to collect $100 out of him, I’ll do it, just on principle,” says DiGiuro. “Hopefully, every week for the rest of his life something comes out of his paycheck, just so he remembers it.”

Most of the homicide division was out of town for a training exercise when the call came in at 3 a.m., meaning Officer Don Evans would have to handle this one alone.

At 28 years old, Evans was a rookie homicide detective with the Lexington Police Department, and this would be the first time he responded to a murder scene as the lead investigator.

All he knew as he drove toward the Woodland Avenue house was that a young male victim had been fatally shot at an off-campus party. “I remember thinking at the time that this was probably going to be fairly routine,” Evans recalls. “I assumed that because it involved someone being shot at a party, there would be a lot of witnesses, and that somebody was going to be able to tell me what happened.”

But during initial interviews at the scene, the victim’s distraught friends said they had no idea what happened.

Believing the witnesses might just be scared to talk, Evans brought them to police headquarters and conducted individual interviews. It was during a conversation with Sean Mann — a close friend of Trent’s who was on the porch when the shooting occurred — that Evans grasped the gravity of the situation.

“His friend looked at me and said, ‘Detective, you are going to figure out who did this, right?’ That’s when I realized they really didn’t have a clue,” says Evans.

In the wake of the sniper-style slaying, Evans forged ahead with little to go on, conducting interviews, canvassing the neighborhood, and looking into Trent’s past for anything that might shed light on why someone would want him dead.

Typically, Evans says it doesn’t take a homicide detective long to come up with at least a possible motive — if a gas station attendant is found dead behind the register, robbery; if a drug dealer is killed, a deal gone bad; if the victim was in a tumultuous relationship or having an affair, a romantic quarrel turned deadly.

In this case, the cold-blooded murder of a college student sparked a frenzy of rumors around Lexington. There was speculation that Trent might have been on steroids and was killed by a dealer. There was talk of a mysterious, married woman who was supposedly sleeping with football players, and whose jealous husband may have found out.

“But with Trent there was nothing like that. Trent was just a good guy,” says Evans, adding that police disproved each of these outlandish stories. “There was nothing torrid here. Trent’s life was his friends and football.”

From the beginning it seemed Trent DiGiuro was destined to play football — he was always a big boy, weighing nearly 12 pounds when he was born. As he got older, Trent developed a bold personality that complemented his burly stature. His father recalls how he was often stubborn, but good-natured: When sent to his room, he would sit in the doorway with his hand barely over the threshold. He was inquisitive, but satisfied with a suitable explanation: When he learned his older brother, Thad, was in the advanced program at school, he wanted to observe an upper-level class to see what he was missing. He did, and after a few minutes he was content to return to his own classroom.

Raised in the Oldham County suburb of Goshen, Trent was always popular, and although an average student, he worked hard to achieve good grades. In the fifth grade he began playing football, which soon became a year-round activity. By the time he was a sophomore at Oldham County High School, Trent was starting for the varsity team.

“He sort of became the big man on campus,” says his father, whose office bookshelves are lined with dozens of family photos. Prominently displayed among them is a picture of Trent cradling a football and wearing his UK football uniform, the No. 67 emblazoned on a royal blue jersey.

After Trent’s death, the DiGiuros received countless phone calls and letters relaying fond memories of their son. His middle school principal told them how Trent befriended a disabled classmate who was ridiculed by the other kids. The father of one of his college friends called to say thanks for raising such a protective young man, explaining how when a guy was harassing his daughter at a bar, Trent “knocked him on his ass,” which DiGiuro says with a smile, “was sort of his way.”

“I think all kids do those things from time to time, but because there’s no tragedy, you never hear about it,” he says. “It’s sort of unfortunate that most of the real good stories about Trent we never heard until after he was killed.”

When it came time for Trent to decide on a college, several smaller schools showed interest in offering him a football scholarship, but he was determined to play for a Division I university.

As a freshman at UK in 1991, Trent made the team as a walk-on. During his second year, the offensive lineman made his collegiate debut on the field, playing only a few minutes. During his third year, Trent began traveling with the team and getting ample game time. And in the summer of 1994, Trent was preparing to be a starter in the upcoming season.

“He had gotten past the wild part of college and was very dedicated to football,” says DiGiuro. That summer he was working in the weight room as a strength coach, and could often be found running wind-sprints on the practice field by himself. Off the field, he was majoring in business and had mentioned the possibility of law school.

A few days before Trent’s death, the DiGiuros visited their son in Lexington, grabbing an early dinner at a local sandwich shop. Their conversation was unremarkable — they talked about football, and Trent’s plans to come home the following week to celebrate his 21st birthday with family.

It was a trip he never had the chance to make.

A high-profile murder mystery like this was bound to garner vast media attention, which can both help and hinder a case. In the early months of the investigation, dozens of tips flooded in, but none panned out. One such dead-end involved a Woodford County man who had called the department on several occasions to discuss the case. Investigators obtained a warrant and searched the man’s remote shack, where they discovered hundreds of paper plates on which he had scribbled messages to Trent. It ultimately was determined the mentally unstable man had become obsessed with the case from what he read in the news.

Eventually, “America’s Most Wanted” highlighted Trent’s murder in an episode, resulting in hundreds of leads from all over the country.

“It’s a catch-22. This can cause people — the crazies, so to speak — to come out of the woodwork,” says Evans. “But it can also keep things moving forward and keep it on people’s minds, which in this case ultimately brought it to fruition.”

Although Evans was eventually moved to the burglary unit, he kept this murder case, in large part because he had formed a good relationship with Trent’s family. Over the years he re-interviewed witnesses and pored over the file, at times asking fellow officers to do the same, hoping they would pick up on something he missed.

But the investigation remained stalled until January 2000, when Evans received a call from a local attorney. The Lexington lawyer, Tom Bullock, said he was calling on behalf of a client who had information vital to solving the case. That client turned out to be Shane Ragland’s ex-girlfriend, Aimee Lloyd.

Unable to find any mention of Ragland in the case file’s hundreds of pages, the detective followed up with the attorney representing Lloyd, who insisted that she remain anonymous. Through her lawyer, Lloyd claimed that while she was having drinks with Ragland at a Lexington pub about a year after the murder, he admitted to killing Trent during a conversation about the “most terrible” things they had ever done. She proceeded to relay this version of his confession: Ragland was on his way home when he noticed Trent sitting on his front porch. He rushed to his house — just up the block on Woodland Avenue — and retrieved his rifle, stashing it in a duffle bag and riding his bike back to the corner of Woodland and Columbia, traveling through backyards to avoid detection. He then shot Trent once in the head. The motive: Ragland wanted revenge for being blackballed from the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.

Evans dug through old fraternity records, finding a list of SAE pledges from 1991. The list included the name “Shane Ragland” with a line through it.

It was a major break, but it was just the beginning.

Evans compiled a list of random names and showed it to Matt Blandford, one of Trent’s closest friends. As Blandford scanned the list looking for someone who might have had a problem with his friend, his expression changed when he saw Ragland’s name. This was the guy.

In the fall of 1991, Blandford was sharing a dorm with Trent, and on one occasion early in the semester, Ragland visited their room. While there, Ragland noticed a calendar with photographs of female UK students, one of whom he bragged about having slept with. That woman turned out to be the girlfriend of an officer in the SAE fraternity, which both Blandford and Ragland were pledging.

When the SAE officer learned of Ragland’s boast, he kicked him out of the pledge class.

Soon after, Ragland encountered Blandford and DiGiuro walking across campus and angrily confronted them. He was furious, saying he couldn’t believe Blandford had “dicked a pledge brother,” according to court documents. That’s when Trent — who was not in a fraternity — stepped up and took the blame, saying he was the one who told.

“That explained why I couldn’t figure out who did it, because it was such a stupid reason,” says Evans. “Who would think that something so stupid that occurred three years ago would cause this guy to come back and assassinate someone?”

Following the murder at 570 Woodland Ave., Trent’s friends were grief-stricken and afraid for their lives. Because police at the time had no idea who might have fired the fatal shot, it was unclear whether anyone else might be a target.

“At practice I would look out into the tree line and wonder if there was someone out there,” says Antonio O’Ferral, a former UK football player who was living with Trent when he was killed. Unable to live in the same house after that deadly night, O’Ferral moved into an apartment with his girlfriend across campus. “We couldn’t even sit on the porch on a cool fall day. We walked quickly to and from the car and never spent much time outside … We avoided driving down Woodland and near the house. It was a difficult time.”

Eventually that paranoia dwindled, but the pain did not.

“Words can’t explain the loss we suffered that night,” says O’Ferral, before veering off in a more positive direction, recalling Trent as someone who taught him to golf, and who scooped him up like a feather and rushed him to the emergency room when he blew out his knee. “I can truly say there aren’t many days that go by that I don’t think about Trent.”

Over the past 15 years, O’Ferral has remained close with Trent’s parents, who are godparents to both his children.

At least twice a year the DiGiuros open their home to O’Ferral and many of Trent’s out-of-town friends — on Thanksgiving, and again in the summer when they host an event to raise money for the Trent DiGiuro Foundation, which provides scholarships to students in Oldham County and at the University of Kentucky.

“We have a good time, laugh and tell stories,” DiGiuro says of the gatherings. “Any time any of the kids will come over they will go down to Trent’s room. They’ll get into his closet and rummage around, look at pictures.”

DiGiuro says reminiscing about Trent no longer makes him sad. What’s heartbreaking is thinking about all the things Trent will never get to do. “I remember the look on my oldest son’s face when he saw his wife on his wedding day for the first time, and Trent is never going to have that. And I remember when he came running out of the delivery room when his baby was born. Trent is never going to have that. That’s what we miss.”

On the day after Trent was killed, the DiGiuros were sitting by a pond in their backyard. At that moment, DiGiuro says they determined this tragedy was not going to destroy their lives. “We decided that except for more time with Trent, we wouldn’t change a thing.”

It took a long time for them to laugh again. But now, he says, “Any day that we don’t laugh is a day that this guy wins, and we aren’t going to let that happen.”

After nearly six years, the long-stagnant murder investigation was suddenly in motion. But police would still need the help of Aimee Lloyd, who was terrified of what Ragland might do if he discovered she was assisting police. In fact, she said it was fear that prevented her from coming forward sooner.

Although the couple had broken up long ago, Lloyd remained haunted by Ragland’s confession. She had tried to forget about it and move on with her life; then she came across a newspaper article about the five-year anniversary of the unsolved murder. For months the article weighed on her conscience, and eventually she came forward.

“Even though she was vehement about not helping,” says Evans, “we were able to convince her with some conditions.”

In exchange for the promise of protection — including a new name and Social Security number, and a new home where she could not be found — Lloyd agreed to contact her ex and set up a meeting.

First Lloyd contacted Ragland via e-mail, and the two exchanged phone numbers. During a series of calls that were recorded, they talked about their past relationship, Lloyd’s recent breast surgery, and the suicide of Ragland’s brother in 1994, among other topics. Investigators then concocted a story for Lloyd to tell about having recently broken up with a boyfriend, saying she would be traveling through Lexington on business and would like to get together. Ragland took the bait and the two met for a drink at the bar inside Blue Grass Airport.

Wearing a wire, Lloyd brought up the murder and Ragland’s past confession, saying she wished he had never told her. The following is an excerpt from that recorded conversation:

Lloyd: Something has been bothering me. Something you told me a long time ago. I wish you never had. I need to know how you feel about it now.

Ragland: I regret it …

Lloyd: How could you do something like that over something so fucking stupid? Do you ever think about that?

Ragland: You are making me uncomfortable about it now, just thinking about it …

Lloyd: Do you ever plan on telling anybody what you did?

Ragland: Of course not. You’re scaring me talking about this. I’ve never told anybody else … You’re not setting me up are you? Swear to me you are not setting me up …

Lloyd: I need to get some closure.

Ragland: I do too … I could tell you everything. I just needed to get it off my chest … To answer your question, I am very, very remorseful.

Lloyd: How could you be so stupid?

Ragland: I know … I made the wrong decision. But there is nothing I can do now.

The next day, on July 14, 2000, Kentucky State Police arrested Shane Ragland and charged him with the murder of Trent DiGiuro. Because Ragland, 27, split his time living with his divorced parents, law enforcement searched both Frankfort homes. At his father’s house, they found a box of .243 caliber bullets. At his mother’s, they found a .243 caliber Weatherby rifle with a right-twist barrel pattern.

Immediately Ragland was transported to the Lexington Police Department, where he maintained his innocence throughout a videotaped interview. One month later, he was released from jail after his father, Jerry Ragland, posted a $1 million bond. Unlike most defendants charged with murder, Ragland remained free pending trial, which commenced in March 2002.

“It was very traumatic the first time we were in court,” says DiGiuro, recalling how he and his wife were ushered in through the basement to avoid reporters swarming outside. “It seemed like we were in court 100 times after that.”

Despite her reluctance, Aimee Lloyd agreed to testify at trial, serving as the prosecution’s star witness. Other evidence against Ragland included his rifle and ammunition, which were considered a match to the murder weapon, but could not be conclusively linked to the crime. In addition, the prosecution outlined for the jury that Ragland had the motive, the means and the opportunity to kill Trent DiGiuro.

The team of three star defense attorneys fired back, saying Lloyd was nothing more than a bitter ex-girlfriend who admitted that she hated Ragland, and who police shrewdly used to trap their client. Further, they discounted being blackballed from a fraternity as a believable motive for murder.

At the conclusion of the three-week trial, the jury returned a guilty verdict, and the judge sentenced Ragland to 30 years.

What followed was a convoluted legal battle: Several months after trial it was determined that an FBI bullet analyst inexplicably lied on the stand during a pre-trial hearing in the Ragland case. After reviewing the matter, Fayette Circuit Judge Thomas Clark determined the inaccurate testimony was inconsequential.

In an unrelated appeal, the defense claimed the prosecutor violated Ragland’s constitutional rights during closing arguments by referring to the fact that he refused to testify. The Kentucky Supreme Court agreed and ordered a new trial, but later — in a highly unusual move — agreed to reconsider its ruling. In the meantime, the defense filed yet another appeal, this time challenging the type of bullet analysis used in Ragland’s case, a method the FBI had since stopped using because it was unreliable.

This time, Ragland was successful and his conviction was overturned.

But by then, a retrial was not an option. In convincing Aimee Lloyd to testify the first time, prosecutors had promised she would not have to cooperate any further, meaning they had lost their star witness. And so they offered Ragland a deal — confess, plead guilty to a reduced charge, and walk away with a punishment of time served, which amounted to four years and three months years behind bars. Immediately after that hearing, Ragland retracted his confession.

“It chapped my ass pretty good, but at that point it was all we were going to be able to get,” says DiGiuro. “The fact is he had a conviction overturned on evidence that was insignificant.”

Given how much Ragland likely shelled out for his defense — an amount some observers estimate exceeded $2 million — DiGiuro isn’t all that surprised.

“I think everyone realized if this had been a poor kid from the ghetto he would be in jail, and he never would have had all these appeals and top-flight lawyers,” he says.

That’s why he is determined to go forward with attempts to collect on their $63.3 million civil judgment, regardless of the amount they actually receive. The Kentucky Court of Appeals is likely to rule on Ragland’s latest challenge later this year. Even if the judgment is upheld, DiGiuro expects another appeal.

“At some point, we’ll need to decide whether we are going to hound this guy to the end of the earth, or just say to hell with it and forget about it,” he says. “We’re not ready to forget about it yet.”


Shane Ragland Enters Guilty Plea

Wkyt.com

August 27, 2007

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - A man charged with fatally shooting a University of Kentucky football player as he celebrated his 21st birthday on a porch near campus pleaded guilty to manslaughter Monday.

In the plea agreement, Shane Ragland was sentenced to time served - six years, including credit for 14 months of house arrest - for the 1994 shooting of Trent DiGiuro.

Ragland was accused of targeting DiGiuro in revenge for keeping him out of a fraternity. He was convicted of murder in 2002 and sentenced to 30 years in prison, but he won a new trial after the state Supreme Court agreed that the prosecutor had made an inappropriate comment during trial and used inadmissible evidence concerning a bullet.

Ragland would have faced a retrial but pleaded guilty to manslaughter instead. His attorney, Steve Romines, said it was a "bittersweet" decision for Ragland, who he said was looking forward to trial to prove his innocence.

"He pleaded guilty," Romines said. "That's what it is. But if you talk to him today, he'll maintain his innocence. Only a fool, though, turns down walking out of court when you're facing life."

DiGiuro's father, Michael, said in a phone interview that he didn't agree with the plea but understood there was no choice.

"I don't think justice was done," he said. "Justice would be my son is still alive or Shane Ragland is in jail for life. We're not really excited about it, but we acquiesced."

Fayette County Commonwealth's Attorney Ray Larson said the plea confirms Ragland was responsible for DiGiuro's death - an acknowledgment he says the family had been waiting for years to hear.

"It's over," Larson said. "He's pleaded guilty. He's now a convicted killer."

Larson said he decided to offer a plea after deciding not to call as a witness Ragland's former girlfriend, who told police several years ago he had admitted to the shooting. Larson refused to talk about her whereabouts but said he feared going forward with a trial could put her life at risk.

But Romines insisted the facts just weren't in the prosecutor's favor.

"They were going to lose at trial," he said. "The scientific evidence was clear we couldn't have done it."

Under the terms of the plea deal filed in Fayette County Circuit Court on Monday, Ragland must remain on electronic monitoring until Thursday.

Ragland has been staying at his father's house in Frankfort, Ky. A call there Monday wasn't immediately returned.


Ragland guilty of killing UK player

By Steve Bailey - The Associated Press

Thursday, March 28, 2002

LEXINGTON — Jurors convicted Shane Ragland of murder Wednesday in the 1994 sniper-style slaying of a University of Kentucky football player, then recommended a sentence of 30 years. The crime had gone without an arrest for more than five years.

The Fayette Circuit Court jury deliberated about 5 1/2 hours before returning the guilty verdict. Sentencing deliberations took about an hour.

Mr. Ragland, who faced a sentence as stiff as life without parole for 25 years, would be eligible for parole after serving 12 years if Judge Thomas Clark follows the jury's recommendation when Mr. Ragland is sentenced April 26.

Mr. Ragland showed no emotion when the verdict and sentencing recommendation were read but nodded and winked at his father, Frankfort businessman Jerry Ragland, as he stood to leave the courtroom. The conviction brought a teary outburst from his mother, Kathy Ragland.

Defense lawyer William Johnson of Frankfort said he planned to appeal, possibly on the grounds that the trial should have been moved because of pretrial publicity.

“Shane's doing well,” Mr. Johnson said. “He's obviously disappointed and concerned, but he's optimistic about the possibility of an appeal.”

Mr. Ragland, 28, of Frankfort, was convicted of shooting Trent DiGiuro, an offensive lineman and honor student, as Mr. DiGiuro celebrated his 21st birthday with friends on the front porch of his Lexington home July 17, 1994.

The crime went without an arrest until Mr. Ragland's former girlfriend, Aimee Lloyd, told police in January 2000 that he had admitted to her back in 1995 that he had killed Mr. DiGiuro.

“This case has taken many, many years of hard police work and has taken a lot of effort to get to the point we did tonight,” Commonwealth's Attorney Ray Larson said. “We're pleased.”

Earlier, Mr. Larson urged the jury, “Don't let Trent DiGiuro and his lost future be forgotten.

“You just can't describe the impact this will have on the DiGiuro family for the rest of their lives.”


Ragland jury sees video of interview

The Associated Press

Wednesday, March 27, 2002

LEXINGTON — Prosecutors rested their case against Shane Ragland after playing a videotape ofpolice questioning him about the death of University of Kentucky football player Trent DiGiuro, with Mr. Ragland denying he knew Mr. DiGiuro.

Mr. Ragland also denied living near Mr. DiGiuro or discussing his death with a former girlfriend.

Mr. Ragland is accused of shooting Mr. DiGiuro in the head as Mr. DiGiuro sat on the porch of his rented Lexington home, celebrating his 21st birthday July 17, 1994.

Prosecutors contend that Mr. Ragland was angry Mr. DiGiuro had gotten him thrown out of a UK fraternity nearly three years earlier.

Police were stumped by the crime until Mr. Ragland's former girlfriend told them Mr. Ragland had admitted the killing to her. The day before he was arrested, Aimee Lloyd met with Mr. Ragland and recorded a discussion they had about their pasts, during which she brought up the death of Mr. DiGiuro.

On the videotape of the police interrogation, played for jurors Monday, Mr. Ragland told what prosecutors say are numerous lies.

Mr. Ragland denied any knowledge of the shooting and said he didn't know Mr. DiGiuro, who was from Oldham County.

“I didn't know Trent, I swear to God,” Mr. Ragland said, before allowing he might have seen him at Sigma Alpha Epsilon parties before Mr. Ragland was blackballed in the fall of 1991. Mr. DiGiuro was not a member of the fraternity but had friends who belonged.

Last week, Mr. DiGiuro's former roommate, Matt Blandford, testified that Mr. Ragland knew Mr. DiGiuro and that Mr. Ragland had told him and Mr. DiGiuro that he had slept with a fraternity member's girlfriend — the comment that got him expelled from the fraternity.

Mr. Blandford also said Mr. DiGiuro had told Mr. Ragland that he was responsible for getting Mr. Ragland thrown out.

Mr. Ragland also said he was not living on Woodland Avenue, just a few houses from Mr. DiGiuro, at the time of the shooting.

He claimed that he learned of the killing sometime later.

“I don't know if I read it in the paper or if someone told me about it after it happened,” he said.

When police questioned him about the meeting with Ms. Lloyd, Mr. Ragland said they talked about their jobs, his drunken driving arrests, his time in alcohol rehab and the death of his brother. But he said they never talked about Mr. DiGiuro.

“If she told you we talked about the murder, she's a liar,” he told Lt. Mark Barnard and Detective Don Evans.

When police played a recording of the conversation, which took place at Blue Grass Airport, in which Ms. Lloyd mentioned the name “Trent” twice and that he was a UK football player once, Mr. Ragland said he didn't hear her and didn't know what she was talking about.

“You can say, "I didn't hear it one time.' You can say, "I didn't hear it two times,'” Lt. Barnard told Mr. Ragland. “You cannot say, "I didn't hear it three times.' I'm not going to let you lie to me.”

At one point, Mr. Ragland vehemently proclaimed his innocence.

“I may have made an inference to Trent at some point in the past, but I didn't kill anyone. I swear to you guys, I didn't do this,” he said. “You're wrong, guys, I swear to God.”


Trial begins in killing of UK player

Prosecutors say defendant had violent past

By Steve Bailey - Associated Press

Wednesday, March 13, 2002

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Prosecutors in the trial of a Frankfort man accused in the sniper-style slaying of a University of Kentucky football player claimed Tuesday he had the motive and means to commit murder.

Shane Ragland even admitted to a girlfriend that he killed Trent DiGiuro on July 17, 1994, and never denied in a taped conversation with her that he told her about the crime, Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Lou Anna Red Corn told the jury in her 55-minute opening statement.

“We will prove to you beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant killed Trent DiGiuro,” Ms. Red Corn told the jury.

Mr. DiGiuro was killed instantly when a bullet slammed into his temple as he celebrated his 21st birthday with friends on the porch of his Lexington home.

The crime went unsolved for more than half a decade until Mr. Ragland's former girlfriend, Aimee Lloyd, came forward in January 2000 and told police he told her he shot and killed the walk-on offensive lineman.

Ms. Red Corn told the jury Ms. Lloyd was living in New Jersey and saw a newspaper article on the five-year anniversary of the crime, which prompted her to contact authorities.

“She read the story and how his father said that someone had to know who killed his son,” she said. “For the first time, Trent DiGiuro became more than just a name in a newspaper — he was somebody's son.”

Mr. Ragland was arrested after searches at the homes of his father and mother in July 2000. Those searches turned up bullets and a .243-caliber Weatherby hunting rifle similar to the one that killed Mr. DiGiuro.

Prosecutors contend that Mr. Ragland, 28, gunned down Mr. DiGiuro in retaliation for helping to get him blackballed from the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity in 1991. They painted Mr. Ragland as an angry young man with a history of violence.

Defense attorney William Johnson told the jury that Mr. Ragland did not kill Mr. DiGiuro and never told anyone, including Ms. Lloyd, that he had.

“You will not hear Shane say he killed Trent DiGiuro,” Mr. Johnson said of the taped conversation with Ms. Lloyd in his 50-minute opening statement. “You will not even hear her ask him if he did shoot and kill Trent DiGiuro.”

Mr. Johnson described Mr. Ragland's 18-month relationship with Ms. Lloyd as “a hot affair that could go cold in a hurry,” and implied that Ms. Lloyd is a bitter ex-girlfriend with an ax to grind.

“Evidence will show that until Aimee Lloyd came forward five years after the murder, there was nothing linking Shane with the crime,” he told the jury.

“When you have heard all of the evidence in this case, we will ask you to give a verdict of not guilty for the prosecution's failure to show beyond a reasonable doubt that Shane Ragland killed Trent DiGiuro.”

Prosecutors called Mr. DiGiuro's father, Mike, as their first witness Tuesday and were expected to continue with their case Wednesday morning.

The trial is expected to last about three weeks.

 

 

 
 
 
 
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