RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Attorney General Jason Miyares explained his decision to reverse course on the innocence petition of a man serving a life sentence despite being acquitted of killing a Waverly police officer in 1998.
In a 52-page brief filed on Wednesday, the attorney general’s office described, in detail, the reasoning for rejecting Terrence Richardson’s writ of actual innocence.
Mirayes’ main argument for rejecting Richardson’s request was his guilty plea to involuntary manslaughter. “The Court,” Mirayes’ office wrote in the filing, “should view the instant proceeding through the lens of Petitioner’s self-supplied conviction.”
Richardson alleges that he pled guilty to manslaughter as a lesser charge alternative to a capital murder charge in order to avoid trial in Sussex County Circuit Court.
Although the brief admitted flaws in the handling of the investigation, Miyares’ office ultimately decided that it was within the Court’s power to “resolve the materiality, veracity, and authenticity of the documentary evidence presented without an evidentiary hearing.”
The brief was accompanied by 12 pages of evidence. There are expected to be over 10,000 pages of evidence involved in the case.
The decision to reverse the petition was revealed last month when Miyares’ office sent a letter to the Virginia Court of Appeals, reversing the state’s position in the case of Richardson and Ferrone Claiborne, two men serving life in federal prison after a jury found them guilty of drug offenses but not guilty of murdering officer Allen Gibson.