Estranged wife charged with husband’s 2016 murder in Powhatan County


POWHATAN COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — The Powhatan County Sheriff’s Office said it made an arrest on Wednesday in a 2016 murder case. 

Deputies said Karina Rafter, 43, has been charged with one count of first-degree murder in the death of her estranged husband John Rafter Jr., which happened on Dec. 9, 2016, on Flint Hill Road.

The sheriff’s office said it received indictments on Wednesday from a grand jury. Karina Rafter was taken into custody shortly after. 

The father of three died from a shotgun blast to the head. The sheriff’s office told 8News the shot was from close range. 

The criminal charges will be prosecuted by a special prosecutor from the Henrico County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office. 

Karina Rafter was given a $50,000 secured bond, GPS home monitoring and ordered to have no contact with her juvenile son by the Powhatan Circuit Court. 

The special prosecutor on the case explained why Rafter was granted bond on a first-degree murder charge:

“The test is whether she would be a danger to the community or a flight risk.  It would have been difficult to argue either since it has been over two years since the murder and she has not fled, and we have no information that she would be a danger to anyone else. The conditions set of house arrest with GPS monitoring satisfy concerns that she stay out of trouble and appear in court as required.”

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