Monthly Archives: April 2009

Latest on Man Accused of Killing Alleged Thief

Rachel DePompa – bio | email

rachelheadshotThis story has certainly grabbed your attention. I’ve gotten a lot of emails, phone calls and comments from you wanting to know  more. Today, we have some new information that can shed some more light on what happened last week on Leigh Street.

First, Eric Driver was released from jail today on a $30,000 bond. We were there when he left the city jail. This is one of the more difficult parts of the job. He hid his face and did not want to talk to us, (and who can blame him) he was in jail for the last four days. Still.. it’s my job to ask for his side of the story.

Normally on second degree murder charges the defendent does not get a bond. The Commonwealth’s Attorneys office agreed to the bond today, saying it did not believe Driver was a threat to public safety.

Now to the facts… We know the man who was killed did NOT have a gun. But Driver’s attorney will try to prove that fact does not matter. He says Driver feared for his life and was not protecting his girlfriend’s vehicle.  Commonwealth’s Attorney Michael Herring says in Virginia lethal force is not allowed when protecting property. He says Driver was charged because of an “over-reaction” not a justified reaction.

We learned today, the car had been broken into that morning. They spent part of the day moving the car around the neighborhood to keep others from breaking in. Driver and his girlfriend went to class and returned home around 3:00. Driver’s attorney says the girlfriend was leaving to get the car fixed when she walked outside and saw a man with a mask sitting in her car. She screamed. Driver came running. What happened next will come out in court.

Many of you have asked my opinion on this story, but as a journalist I try not weigh in on events. There are times when I will. But on a case like this that I will be covering for several months, I’d rather lay out the facts and let you decide. This case will ultimately be decided by a jury of Driver’s peers.

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Richmond Wants To Ride the Rails

Rachel DePompa – bio | email

rachelheadshot I asked for a quieter Friday and I got it! I was still busy… just no breaking news. In fact I spent the morning at a press conference in Richmond that I ultimately did not write for the news. It was passed on to our anchor Curt Autry so I could work on another story. Never the less, I like to make sure I stay on top of what’s going on in Richmond and was glad to be at the event.

Press Conference on High Speed Rail
Press Conference on High Speed Rail

The presser was held at the Main Street Station and is all about the city going after Federal dollars for high speed rail. Congressmen Eric Cantor, Bobby Scott and Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones all spoke about how important it is for Richmond to get this money. The rail sounds interesting, especially if it’s anything like what they have in Japan. If it ever becomes reality they say you could get to DC in 45 minutes. Eventually, there would be a line to Charlotte, VA Beach and even New York City. Apparently, Richmond’s line would be one of the easiest to build, so city leaders think they have a good shot at getting the money. Eric Cantor says a project like this could create as many as 180,000 jobs in Virginia. (most being in the Richmond area) That’s a number I actually think is a possiblity. Think of all the companies that could move here for a cheaper cost of living, but still send their folks into DC everyday. There are a lot of possiblities. I’ll keep you updated on the hunt for the money!

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Is There Something in the Water?

By Rachel DePompa – bio | email

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What is with all the shootings in Richmond? The last two days have been absolutely crazy for me. We’ll start with what looked like a shootout on Broad Street. Police say a man charged them with a knife and they opened fire. I have to tell you the bullets were everywhere and in every direction. I counted 5 bullet holes in three different store fronts on BOTH sides of the street. This suspect must have been running all around. And then I find out this morning that the suspect’s fiance was found dead in her home and he’s now being investigated for murder. (never saw that one coming) Our morning reporter Jola took over the reigns of this story this morning because I got moved to another jaw dropping crime.

Police say a VCU student caught a man breaking into a car and shot him. The VCU student is now charged with second degree murder. You wouldn’t believe the number of calls and emails I’ve gotten today about this story. Everyone has an opinion. And what is so difficult with this story is police are not telling us much of anything. And then the witnesses are giving very different accounts. I have to say, in a case like this it would be really REALLY helpful if police would open up a little.

I do know this. Commonwealth’s Attorney Michael Herring says the law is very clear. You can not use lethal force in Virginia when protecting property. You CAN use lethal force if you perceive a threat to yourself or another person. You can also use lethal force when someone breaks into your home.  It is clear, the police and Commonwealth Attorney must not think this is a case of self defense. Herring went as far to say that it was a case of “over reaction”. I have a feeling we’ll be following this one for a while and we won’t know the outcome until it’s before a jury. 

Whoo… Can we please have a quiet Friday?  

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Baseball is Sliding Back to Richmond….

By Rachel DePompa – bio | email 

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Baseball is back…. at least at the Diamond. That’s right, the one place no one is talking about playing baseball will host a team next year. It appears the deal will be inked by the end of the week to bring the Connecticut Defenders to the River City. The Defenders are a Double A team for the San Fransisco Giants. The deal is worth $260-thousand dollars over two years. (that’s just to use the Diamond.. that’s not how much the Richmond Baseball Club will pay for the team.) Now the RBC wants a stadium in Shockoe… Others want a new stadium on the Boulevard. Will this team ever see either? Or will they leave town before a decision is made. That’s the big question for city leaders this summer.

I have a great joke about Richmonders and change that I was told on my first day in the city.. if you see me out…  ask me. 🙂

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Local Bloggers….

By Rachel DePompa – bio | email

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So… Thank you to those who have started following my blog again. It’s good to be back. And I wanted to give a shout out to Buttermilk and Molasses who graded my grading of Mayor Jones first 100 days in office. The author of the blog once joked about one of my posts during the mayoral election. I was talking about how I know a lot of folks at city hall.  Buttermilk wrote… “I bet she doesn’t know Jack!”

I can now say I know Jack too. Met him while having dinner at Cha-Cha’s a few weeks ago. Great bartender. 🙂

Anyway… there are a lot of pretty cool blogs for the River City. My favorite is Tobacco Avenue. Funny Stuff!

PS… and don’t let me forget my absolute favorite blog. Decision Virginia. Posted by none other than the guy who sits right next to me…. Ryan Nobles. 🙂

PSS… I LOVE this blog too. (Mainly because the headlines are so darn catchy) The folks at “10South” really seem to know what’s up on the Boulevard!

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Filed under Blogging, Writing

Outside Richmond

By Rachel DePompa – bio | email

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Sorry, for the writing lag last week. The station sent me back to Blacksburg, Virginia for the anniversary of the Virginia Tech shootings. I was happy to go to see all my old friends. (I worked for the CBS affiliate in Roanoke for 4 years) But going back is also terribly difficult. I was in my office the morning of April 16th 2007 and heard the most panicked voices I’ve ever heard in my life. They were police officers yelling for ambulances. “We need ambulances. We need a lot of ambulances.” I ran out the door, jumped in my news car and drove about 90 miles down route 460. I was being passed left and right by state police and sheriff’s deputies. I got the VT Drillfield, jumped out of my vehicle, (left it running with the door open) and started running across the field. Police officers were on either side of me with semi-automatic rifles. They were crouched behind trees. They were yelling at me to get back. I don’t know what I was thinking. I knew there was a shooter.. but I just wanted to be able to tell people what was going on. The day got progressively worse. It’s a story I don’t tell often. But feel free to ask me about it. I know this is a blog about Richmond politics, but I just wanted to say I remember the 32. I know all of their names. I’ve met many of the loved ones they left behind. And I wanted to solute their bravery and sacrifice. I hope the world never forgets.

 

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Filed under Not Richmond, Virginia Tech

Building Collapse Crash Course…

By Rachel DePompa – bio | email

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There’s nothing like being woken up at 7am on a Saturday morning to a building collapse.  I was at the collapse by 7:30 and live on the air by 8:00.  Arriving on a scene was a little embarrassing…  My producer was on the phone asking for a description and as I approached about 50 people turned and said SHHH!  The fire department had asked for complete silence so they could listen for signs of life.  Ultimately no one was inside.

I went back to the site today and was amazed at how the historic building could so easily be turned into a pile of rubble. We learned today that the cost of the demolition is expected to be $25,000. And THE CITY is paying the bill. (for now) Apparently the owners couldn’t come up with the money fast enough and the city couldn’t leave the building half collapsed.  The owners will eventually foot the bill… It will show up on their 2010 tax bill.  Watch my story tonight for more details!

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