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
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
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
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
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
“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
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
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
“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
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
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
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
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
Eventually that paranoia dwindled, but the pain did
“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
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
“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
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
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
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
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
“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
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
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
DiGiuro's father, Michael, said in a phone
interview that he didn't agree with the plea but understood there was
"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
"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
"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,
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.
“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
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
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
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
He claimed that he learned of the killing sometime
“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
“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
“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.