RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Virginia Supreme Court has decided to hear the appeal of a man sentenced to life in prison for a murder for which he was acquitted.
Terrence Richardson has been in prison for over twenty years since he was convicted of intent to distribute crack cocaine in 1998. Normally, that charge wouldn’t carry a life sentence, but in an unusual procedural move, federal prosecutors referenced the murder of a police officer that he and another man, Ferrone Claiborne, had been charged with in state court.
There’s just one issue: a jury acquitted Claiborne and Richardson of those charges after a trial in which little direct evidence was presented tying them to the killing.
8News has reported on Richardson’s appeal of his sentence since 2017, following his case as he gained the support of former Attorney General Mark Herring — and then lost the state’s support when Attorney General Jason Miyares took office.
Now, the Supreme Court has agreed to take up the case, allowing Richardson’s attorney to appeal the decision of a lower court and present their arguments in full to the justices.
The date of the hearing has not yet been docketed, but in a statement, Richardson’s attorney said, “This unusually quick decision is a significant victory for Mr. Richardson in his effort to prove his innocence.”