Family of slain UK football player to receive $63 million
A Lexington jury has punished confessed killer Shane Ragland and awarded the family of a slain UK football player $63 million in damages. The jury's decision took less than an hour and came after two days of testimony in the civil trial against Ragland.
There have been numerous court appearances in the 14 years that have passed since UK football player Trent DiGiuro was fatally shot in 1994.
It's unclear whether the DiGiuro family will receive the money. Neither Ragland or his attorneys were present during the civil case in Fayette Circuit Court.
"We had an indication that they weren't going to be there. I think it showed a lack of respect for the court that nobody was there. I think he should have come in, sat there and taken it like a man. Our goal is to keep Shane Ragland from inheriting his daddy's money and living the high life. We'll just have to track down where he is and make sure we know where he is," said Mike DiGiuro, Trent's father.
In 1994, Trent DiGiuro was killed in a sniper-style shooting outside his Lexington home. Shane Ragland was later charged and convicted for DiGiuro's death in 2002. The alleged motive: Ragland believed DiGiuro had "black-listed" him from getting in a UK fraternity.
In 2006, Ragland's conviction was overturned for faulty forensic evidence. After the state Supreme Court overturned Shane Ragland's previous conviction, his new trial was set to take place at Jefferson Circuit Court. But the prosecution opted out after a key witness refused to testify. Instead, Ragland pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of manslaughter. Ragland's father says the civil lawsuit should be thrown out.
"The statute of limitations clearly had expired. That is a Kentucky law. Why in the world they even had this trial is beyond me. I think Judge Clark made a mistake in allowing them to go forward with it," said Jerry Ragland, Shane's father.
Shane Ragland is free and was given credit for time served. His whereabouts are unknown. Jerry Ragland says the DiGiuro family received a "worthless" award because Shane doesn't have any money.
Ragland's attorney says there was no reason to attend the trial to protest a monetary amount. Steve Romines says they plan to appeal the civil lawsuit based on the claim it was filed too late.