So, is the AP or the Richmond Times-Dispatch responsible for this error?

Paper: Richmond Times-Dispatch

Headline: DNA clears Va. man convicted of firearm felony. (Link)

The relevant sections of the story:

A man who was convicted of felony firearm possession has become the first person exonerated under a 2004 Virginia law allowing prisoners to present new, non-DNA evidence of their innocence.

The Virginia Court of Appeals granted Darrell Andrew Copeland’s writ of actual innocence Tuesday.

The attorney general’s office supported Copeland’s petition after lab tests showed that the weapon he had when he was arrested in Chesapeake last year was a “gas gun” that does not fit the definition of a firearm under state law.


AP-ES-08-12-08 1221EDT

(I believe that’s an AP date stamp at the bottom but it might not be.)

The petition had nothing to do with DNA — despite what the headline of the story says.

The petition was based on whether the gun was actually a firearm under state law. It wasn’t.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch can’t see the forest for the trees.

Or they’re just incompetent; take your pick.

Consider a recent “news story” from Jeff Schapiro about the recent General Assembly special session. First the intro:

Shame on our short-timer governor, Tim Kaine. How dare he berate the legislature for doing nothing on transportation.

On the contrary, the General Assembly was enormously productive during the six days in June and July it was, ahem, at work.

Belying the perception they are deadbeats, Virginia’s worthies actually passed nearly 120 measures. Some were important — to someone.

Yes, yes, no one cares, details please:

One was essential to making this a truly special session. It allowed legislators to pay themselves about $120,000 — for again ducking a $1 billion problem.

Wow, $120,000, which is only 0.00034% of the state’s budget, and that’s calculating the percentage using FY07 expenditures.

And considering there were 140 legislators working for 48 hours (six days), that’s only $17.86 a hour. (A lot of legislators are lawyers, for example, and would be making a heck a lot more at their office, for comparison.)

Right now, you have a state that spends $35,442,393,597.43 a year in their budget (again, FY07 numbers [Auditor of Public Accounts]). At what point, is enough enough?

From FY03 to FY07, the biggest growth, by percentage, in the Commonwealth’s budget has been in Capital Outlay Projects (126.19% increase), Education (45.57% increase), and General Government (35.78% increase) (Auditor of Public Accounts, different link). Who thinks we can find some cuts in there?

Meanwhile, transportation funding has only increased by 6.69% in the same time period (Ibid).

In the same time period that transportation only increased by 6.69%, the total statewide spending increased by 26.84%.

Back to RT-D:

The House version was carried by Del. Phil Hamilton, R-Newport News, an inartful dodger carrying water for the big companies angling to run, for fun and profit, vast hunks of the Hampton Roads road-tunnel-and-bridge network.

As Christina Nuckols, of The Virginian-Pilot, reminded her readers: Those firms are represented by lobbyists who sit in the privy council of Speaker Bill Howell, ensuring Republicans receive only objective, dispassionate advice on what could prove a giant government giveaway.

Oh my God! Those evil “big companies”!

They have some nerve employing people and giving them a paycheck for work! Those saps that work for those evil “big companies” should just quit, get on welfare, and live off the government.

What’s even worst is that the companies hire people (lobbyists) to represent themselves to the legislature. Those bastards should be executed for using their First Amendment rights.

Remember that hating corporations is #82 on Stuff White People Like.

The legislative calendar included some somber business: bills by Dels. Chris Peace, R-Hanover, and Albert Pollard, D-Lancaster, naming bridges over Interstate 95 in Caroline County for troopers Robert Tinsley Lohr and Robin Lee Farmer, both killed in the line of duty in 1978 and 1981, respectively.

Is that a complaint or what? The renaming of the bridges was requested by the Caroline County Board of Supervisors and Sheriff Tony Lippa. The idea was originally proposed by a private citizen of Caroline County, Roger Cavendish.

Delegates Peace and Pollard, along with Delegate Orrock and Senator McDougle, also introduced a resolution celebrating the life of Mildred Jeter Loving.

Are you going to bitch about that too, Jeff?

How about Bill Howell, et al., introducing a resolution celebrating the life of Fredericksburg Police Officer Todd Bahr, who was killed in the line of duty on June 6th?

Going to bitch about that one too, Jeff?

And there were tributes to war dead. Del. Adam Ebbin, D-Alexandria, and Sen. John Watkins, R-Powhatan, sponsored separate memorial resolutions for Army Lt. Col. Jim Walton, who fell in Afghanistan last month in an attack on his convoy.

Again, is this a complaint?

Veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom would qualify for special license plates, under a measure by Del. Bill Janis of Henrico. The VMI guy and former naval officer is on the partisan special-ops squad of the House GOP Caucus.

Does that mean the license plate shouldn’t be allowed?

A prospective governor was honored by another. Sen. Creigh Deeds of Bath, running for the 2009 Democratic nomination, introduced a resolution “celebrating the life” of the late Bill Battle. Battle, defeated for the 1969 Democratic nomination, lived in Charlottesville, on the eastern edge of Deeds’ sprawling, sylvan district.

The problem?

The business of the just-adjourned session covers four pages on the General Assembly’s Web site. Some of it is heady stuff — not.

[Blah, blah, blah, blah…]

All are appointments with a $200-per-meeting paycheck. Unlike the other day, maybe the senators will actually earn it.

Okay, I guess that all the preceding was a complaint.

Does anyone notice that this reporter has time to go through and check out every little resolution that the General Assembly dealt with and proceeded to complain about the unimportance of them?

Did he write a story about the transportation bills that were dealt with? No, of course not; those aren’t important.

Is this not the very height of irony?

First, these resolutions probably take about a minute of time in each house of the General Assembly.

Second, while Jeff was tracking down every resolution the General Assembly dealt with, he missed the following:

The Republicans went from wanting (unconstitutional) regional taxes imposed on Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads to offering a no-tax solution: The Republican solution include appropriating money to NoVA and Hampton Roads from airport fees and taxes and port revenues to pay for the transports needs that are partly caused by the airports and port!

Where’s the story about Jeff Frederick’s bill that would give money to localities to pay for their own roads instead of giving money to the monstrosity that is VDOT (HB6025)? That bill didn’t even make it out of the House.

How about the bill that would implement the 2002 Governor’s Commission on Efficiency and Effectiveness that died in the House Rules Committee (HJ6061)?

How about the the great idea for the state to stop paying for roads in subdivisions (HB6041)? Why should I be paying for someone else’s subdivision roads that I and 99.99% of the state will never see or use?

How about the bill that would required an independent audit of the monstrosity-known-as-VDOT (HB6023)? The Senate refused to act on that bill.

RT-D had time to nitpick about every little resolution that was passed by the General Assembly, but couldn’t do their jobs and actually tell the people what did occur during the session.

While I was picking on the Richmond Times-Dispatch, D. J. McGuire was skewering The Free Lance–Black White Hole.

He also took care of another act of outright incompetence by RT-D here.

There’s a difference between burglary/larceny and robbery, guys.

The paper: Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Headline: “Two men arrested in connection with Green Top robbery“.


The story:

One man from Washington and another from Maryland have been arrested in connection with the June 13 burglary of Green Top Sporting Goods in which 34 handguns were stolen.

The Hanover County Sheriff’s Office arrested Michael A. Henderson, 21, of Bowie, Md., and Leon E. Waddy, 21, of Washington on charges of burglary, grand larceny, possession of burglary tools and conspiracy.

Henderson is being held in federal detention in Maryland and Waddy is in federal custody in Washington, police said. Both could face additional federal charges.

The break-in occurred early in the morning at Green Top, at 10193 Washington Highway, just north of Virginia Center Commons.

About 12:30 a.m., surveillance video showed two robbers wearing dark clothing that covered most of their bodies smashing into glass cases at the front of the store and stealing 34 semi-automatic handguns of various calibers.

Deputies arrived three minutes after the alarm went off, but the thieves were gone, a spokesman for the Hanover Sheriff’s Office said.

Robbery, as defined by Black Law’s Dictionary, 3rd pocket ed., p. 627, is “[t]he illegal taking of property from the person of another, or in the person’s presence, by violence or intimidation” [emphasis mine], e.g., someone sticks a gun in your face and demands your wallet.

Burglary, is “[t]he modern statutory offense of breaking and entering any building […] with the intent to commit a felony” (Id., p. 83), e.g., I smash the window on your house or other structure and enter with the intent to steal stuff with the value of over $200 (the theft of less than $200 is a misdemeanor in Virginia).

Larceny, is “[t]he unlawful taking and carrying away of someone else’s personal property with the intent to deprive the possessor of it permanently” (Id., p. 408), e.g., I steal your pencil with the intent to keep it for myself.

These guys are (accused) burglars and larcenizers (or whatever), but they are not “robbers”.

Richmond Times-Dispatch shills for a convicted capital murderer.

Gag a maggot:

Kevin Green is scheduled to die by injection tomorrow night for the 1998 capital murder of a Dolphin woman during a robbery.

Green shot Patricia L. Vaughan four times inside Lawrence’s Grocery, a small business that she and her husband, Lawrence T. Vaughan, opened in 1981 in the small community where they grew up in rural Brunswick County.

Green’s execution is set for 9 p.m. at the Greensville Correctional Center, unless the U.S. Supreme Court or Gov. Timothy M. Kaine intervenes.


It is unclear when the justices will act on Green’s request for an appeal. Frequently, the high court waits until the day of the execution. Governors typically wait to act on clemency petitions until after the Supreme Court does so.

Green’s would be the 99th execution in Virginia since the U.S. Supreme Court allowed the death penalty to resume in 1976. Only Texas, with 405 executions, has conducted more.

Vigils are scheduled across the state, including in a field near the prison on Tuesday evening. A full schedule of vigils can be seen on the Web site of Virginians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty:

My Lord, where’s the vigil for the two victims?

And why is the Fredericksburg City Public School System allowing an employee, Claudia Vandermade, to use county resources (e-mail) to organize a vigil for a capital murderer?

What the hell is wrong with this society?

Since the RT-D was too busy shilling for a convicted capital murderer, please consult Kevin Green v. Commonwealth of Virginia, Record No. 020757:

The victim, Patricia L. Vaughan, and her husband, Lawrence T. Vaughan, owned and operated a small grocery store in Brunswick County. As part of their grocery store operation, the Vaughans regularly cashed checks for employees of several nearby businesses, including a lumber company that paid its employees on Friday of each week. Consequently, Mr. Vaughan routinely went to a bank on Fridays to obtain sufficient currency to cash payroll checks for the lumber company employees. And, he did so on Friday, August 21, 1998. Upon returning from the bank on that Friday, he placed $10,000 in a bank bag that he kept in a cabinet underneath the cash register, another $10,000 elsewhere in the store, and the remaining cash in a safe.

On the day in question, as Mr. Vaughan was starting to eat lunch and to file an invoice, two men entered the store. Mr. Vaughan saw them and recognized the taller of the two men as Kevin Green, the defendant. Green had worked for the lumber company for approximately eight to ten weeks during the preceding spring, and had frequented the Vaughans’ grocery store at lunchtime, after work, and on Fridays to cash his payroll checks.

When the two men entered the store, Mrs. Vaughan had her back to the door and was standing five or six feet from Mr. Vaughan. Thinking that the shorter man was going over to the “drink box,” Mr. Vaughan turned around to finish his filing. As he did so, he heard his wife scream, “Oh, God.” At trial, Mr. Vaughan described what he then heard:

It was four bangs. Bang, bang and I was hit. I didn’t know where I was hit, but I was hurt. I turned a complete turn and fell on the floor, sit [sic] down on my right foot and broke my right ankle. And about [the] time I went down, I looked up and I realized it was a gun being fired. I could see him, he shot toward my wife with the fourth shot. I saw his hand with a pistol in it. He was holding [it] like he was target practicing.

Mr. Vaughan testified that Green, after firing the four shots, walked back to the door and stood there “as a lookout” while the other man came around behind the counter and tried to open the cash register. When the drawer on the cash register jammed, Green directed the shorter man to look under the counter. Upon doing so, he found the bank bag containing approximately $9,000 in cash and Mr. Vaughan’s pistol, which he then used to shoot through the key hole in the cash register drawer. Taking the bank bag and the pistol, the shorter man exited the store, but Green walked a few steps over to where Mrs. Vaughan was lying on the floor and pointed the gun at her again. According to Mr. Vaughan, the gun misfired, and Green ejected a live cartridge onto the floor. Green then fired two more shots in the direction of Mrs. Vaughan. Lowering his head, Mr. Vaughan heard the gun “snap” one more time, but he did not know whether Green was pointing the gun at him or his wife. Only then, when the gun was empty, did Green leave the store.

After Green left, Mr. Vaughan dragged himself approximately five feet across the floor of the store to a telephone and dialed the “911” emergency number, but he was too weak to reach his wife who was still lying on the floor. One of the first police officers to arrive at the scene testified that he observed “puddles of blood just pouring out of [Mrs. Vaughan’s] nose, her mouth, [and] her head.” A local volunteer medical examiner determined that Mrs. Vaughan had died at the scene of the shooting.

A subsequent autopsy of Mrs. Vaughan’s body revealed that she sustained four gunshot wounds. One bullet penetrated the left side of her head, passed through the temporal and frontal lobes of her brain, and lodged in the inner frontal sinus of her face. Another bullet entered the right side of her chest and went into the upper lobe of her right lung. A third bullet penetrated the left side of her back. This was the only non-lethal wound. The fourth bullet entered the right side of Mrs. Vaughan’s back and penetrated two lobes of her right lung. According to the forensic pathologist who performed the autopsy, Dr. Jose Abrenio, this wound caused hemorrhaging in her thoracic cavity, which led to difficulty in breathing and had the effect of suffocating her. Dr. Abrenio also opined that Mrs. Vaughan survived “seconds to minutes” after she was first shot.

Four days after the murder, a warrant was issued to search Green, his residence, and automobile. During the search of his home, six bullets were retrieved from the trunk of a tree in his yard. The bullets were found behind a “makeshift target” hanging on the tree. Forensic testing on those six bullets and the four bullets recovered from Mrs. Vaughan’s body during the autopsy revealed that all ten “caliber 25 Auto full metal jacketed bullets” had been fired from one weapon. About 35 to 50 feet from the tree, 16 25-caliber empty cartridge casings were also recovered.

After Green was arrested, he executed a form waiving his Miranda rights and agreed to be questioned by law enforcement officers. During that interrogation, Green admitted that he and his cousin, David Green, robbed the Vaughans’ grocery store and that he selected their store because he knew the Vaughans kept a lot of money there. Green and his cousin had originally planned to wear masks to conceal their faces. However, they discarded the masks after they had to wait behind the store in their automobile for about an hour because other people were in the grocery store. Green also admitted that he shot both of the Vaughans, hitting Mrs. Vaughan four times.


During the penalty phase of the trial, the Commonwealth presented testimony from several correctional officers who had supervised Green’s incarceration at different times and facilities. Much of their testimony described incidents during which Green exhibited disruptive behavior, refused to obey instructions, and made threats to the officers. For example, one officer testified that Green “clinched” the bars of his cell and said, “I’ll get you, I will get you.” Another officer stated that, when Green had to be placed in isolation because of his disruptive conduct, Green started throwing anything he could find, flushing the toilet, and throwing water into the hallway. Green then told the officer that he was going to make the officer’s life “a living hell.” Other personnel described incidents in which Green threw food, trash, and feces on the floor and refused to take his medication.

In addition to this testimony, the Commonwealth called Clement Leon Cleaton, an acquaintance of Green. Cleaton testified that Green had threatened to rob and kill him and that he had heard Green threaten to rob a man selling ice cream from a truck. Cleaton also related an incident in which Green had shot several times toward Cleaton’s “hog pen” while Cleaton was feeding his hogs. Cleaton had asked Green not to shoot in that direction.

Why the heck is someone holding a vigil for a piece of scum that shoots a man and a woman, robs her and her husband, and then shoots the woman two more times to make sure she dies?

Uh…someone “splain this to me”.

Richmond Times-Dispatch: Gun used in woman’s death registered to estranged husband:

The gun that was “used and found” at the scene of a Forest woman’s slaying was registered to her estranged husband, according to a search warrant filed by the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office.


“The firearm used and found at the scene was registered to Wesley Earnest,” the warrant said. “There is knowledge that there are items related to the weapon found at the death scene along with the motive for Jocelyn Earnest’s death that are located at this residence.”

Uh…the last time I check (and the NRA concurs) Virginia doesn’t require the registration of any type of firearms (except for machine guns [a gun that shoots automatically], “sawed-off” shotgun [a shotgun with a barrel less than 18 inches], or “sawed-off” rifles [a rifle with a barrel less than 16 inches].

Now, they could be referring to Form 4473 from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) which is kept permanently by any firearms dealer with a Federal Firearms License (FFL) when they sell a firearm.

However, there is a big difference between a gun being registered with someone, and a 4473 saying that weapon was sold to the person. If a private person purchased a firearm from a FFL and completed the required paperwork (including the 4473), and then proceeded to sell the weapon to someone else, the private citizen would not have to complete any paperwork and the gun could soon become “untraceable”.

I would except someone at RT-D to get the facts wrong, but for a trained police officer to be that incorrect is down right scary. And the Circuit Court actually issued a search warrant with a mistake that big? I’m sure the suspect’s lawyer is going to have a field day with this.