Charity reverses decision to donate wheelchair to convicted kill - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Charity reverses decision to donate wheelchair to convicted killer Shane Ragland

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A Florida charity that planned on giving Shane Ragland a customized wheelchair has reversed that decision after learning about Ragland's criminal history.

Earlier this week, the Darrell Gwynn Foundation -- a Davie, Florida charity that focuses on paralysis and spinal cord injuries -- sent out a news release announcing that it would be donating the wheelchair to Ragland, who sustained a spinal cord injury in 2012 after his car hit a snow bank and ran off the road.

The news release quoted Ragland, who said he was thankful for the donation.

"A manual wheelchair will improve my daily living in many ways," Ragland stated in the news release. "I will be able to travel in a normal car with family and friends. I will simply transfer to a regular vehicle and put my wheelchair in the back. A special wheelchair accessible vehicle will not be necessary to go places. With a manual wheelchair, I can participate in wheelchair sports and activities, including my physical exercise, rehabilitation and peace of mind."

The presentation was scheduled to take place Saturday, June 14, at the Holley National Hot Rod Reunion in Bowling Green.

But on Thursday afternoon, the Foundation sent a new press release, reversing the decision, citing Ragland's criminal history. Ragland was convicted of the 1994 murder of UK Football player Trent DiGiuro and sentenced to 30 years in prison. In 2002, his conviction was overturned. Later, Ragland pleaded guilty to the crime and was sentenced to the time he served, plus three days.

The Foundation's statement read as follows:

"Recently, the Darrell Gwynn Foundation became aware of Mr. Ragland's troubled past. The foundation tries to make an impact in each community it visits. We reached out in search of a candidate for an event in Kentucky and Mr. Ragland was referred to us for a wheelchair donation by a local rehabilitation clinic. As a small organization, we rely on rehabilitation clinics to help identify patients in need of wheelchairs. The Darrell Gwynn Foundation had no knowledge of Mr. Ragland's criminal record when we approved of his wheelchair donation application. That information was never communicated to us during the referral or application process.

The foundation has a policy making any individuals whom have been convicted of a felony ineligible for a wheelchair donation. Upon learning this information, the foundation has made the decision to rescind the donation of the wheelchair to Mr. Ragland. Moving forward with the donation would not be in the spirit of our mission to give the gift of mobility to those in need. We appreciate several members of the local community for raising their voices and making us aware of Mr. Ragland's past. The Darrell Gwynn Foundation remains committed to donating wheelchairs to deserving individuals."

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