Shane Ragland Enters Guilty Plea

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - A man charged with fatally shooting a University of Kentucky football player as he celebrated his 21st birthday on a porch near campus pleaded guilty to manslaughter Monday.

In the plea agreement, Shane Ragland was sentenced to time served - six years, including credit for 14 months of house arrest - for the 1994 shooting of Trent DiGiuro.

Ragland was accused of targeting DiGiuro in revenge for keeping him out of a fraternity. He was convicted of murder in 2002 and sentenced to 30 years in prison, but he won a new trial after the state Supreme Court agreed that the prosecutor had made an inappropriate comment during trial and used inadmissible evidence concerning a bullet.

Ragland would have faced a retrial but pleaded guilty to manslaughter instead. His attorney, Steve Romines, said it was a "bittersweet" decision for Ragland, who he said was looking forward to trial to prove his innocence.

"He pleaded guilty," Romines said. "That's what it is. But if you talk to him today, he'll maintain his innocence. Only a fool, though, turns down walking out of court when you're facing life."

DiGiuro's father, Michael, said in a phone interview that he didn't agree with the plea but understood there was no choice.

"I don't think justice was done," he said. "Justice would be my son is still alive or Shane Ragland is in jail for life. We're not really excited about it, but we acquiesced."

Fayette County Commonwealth's Attorney Ray Larson said the plea confirms Ragland was responsible for DiGiuro's death - an acknowledgment he says the family had been waiting for years to hear.

"It's over," Larson said. "He's pleaded guilty. He's now a convicted killer."

Larson said he decided to offer a plea after deciding not to call as a witness Ragland's former girlfriend, who told police several years ago he had admitted to the shooting. Larson refused to talk about her whereabouts but said he feared going forward with a trial could put her life at risk.

But Romines insisted the facts just weren't in the prosecutor's favor.

"They were going to lose at trial," he said. "The scientific evidence was clear we couldn't have done it."

Under the terms of the plea deal filed in Fayette County Circuit Court on Monday, Ragland must remain on electronic monitoring until Thursday.

Ragland has been staying at his father's house in Frankfort, Ky. A call there Monday wasn't immediately returned.

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  • by Chris Location: Cary, NC on Dec 26, 2009 at 04:40 AM
    wow, what a f*cked up family this kid has. his father is just as guilty as his pathetic sniveling little daddys boy. what's funny though, at 25 or however old he was when the cops came knocking on his dads door he was still living with his parents...probably because he was too much of a tool to do anything with his life. he realized he's a loser and money can't buy everything so he had to kill a guy to make himself feel big. what a tool. his father is a d*uche as well.
  • by Paul Location: Lex on Aug 30, 2007 at 08:16 PM
    Mel youare so right....I am very upset about this decision. He admitted to killing that poor boy in cold blood. Ray Larson i respected you for many years but you gave up for a conviction and not for justice.. My prayers for Trent's family, this is just so totally wrong. I ask the voters of Fayette county to remember this.. This is a travesty... To the family of Shane Ragland, ..had my son killed someone, i would love him cherish him and hope that he would understand his punishment.. You have just enabled a cold blooded killer.. see how warm your money makes you feel..
  • by Anonymous on Aug 30, 2007 at 12:22 PM
    Shane kinda favors slingblade...but leave him alone and let him live his life, he may have had a reason for doin what he did, if he did it. I know i was forced to take a assault charge on my record and i didnt do anything but be there and get the blame, but if i hadnt pled guilty i would have lost my job and everything i had cause they wouldnt gonna let me out of jail. Our attorneys, lawyers, and judges are all about the all mighty dollar, crookedest S.O.B.s out there on our streets. So if you dont have it, expect to stay a while and if you've got it, they'll take it...its not if you do the crime you will do the time, its if you got cash, your criminal record goes in the trash....
  • by Anonymous on Aug 30, 2007 at 10:14 AM
  • by A Location: Lexington on Aug 30, 2007 at 10:13 AM
    Ya know I have been reading and thinking about all these nasty comments.......Maybe Shane is guilty but does not want to admit it...wether he is or isn't he has spent his time and now he is gonna get to start his life. I have a brother who is in jail for basically wrong time wrong place and if he could get out today I would thank god. Just remember everyone make mistake and as long as you learn from them then let God judge him. We live in a forgiving world and if god can forgive him so can we. Shane I hope that you get to live a decent life and I know this will always be over your head but try to move on.
  • by Shaniqua Location: Lexington on Aug 29, 2007 at 11:12 PM
    Don't worry folks!!!!! Shane Ragland is so spoiled and such a little punk that he won't last a year in society. Somebody will get him!!!!!
  • by john Location: lexington on Aug 29, 2007 at 11:03 PM
  • by Hiro Location: Japan on Aug 29, 2007 at 04:10 PM
    Has anyone noticed that Shane looks like Sylar on "Heroes"?
  • by Ellen Location: Georgetown on Aug 29, 2007 at 03:33 PM
    For the record Rick, football bores me even more than watching paint dry. An antisocial coward murdering a beloved young man and then being turned loose in our society concerns me greatly. As does living in the same community as someone who indicates there is anything slightly justifiable in "snapping" because one is blackballed from a fraternity. Amen to Liz and Mel.
  • by mel Location: lex on Aug 29, 2007 at 10:06 AM
    Liz, you took the words out of my mouth. And Rick, yes, I would care no matter who he was. To even begin to excuse murder because of being "seriously wronged" - which seems to be that he was blackballed from a fraternity - is nuts. We've all had to endure unfair treatment by friends, family, employers, even the law, and that does NOT give you the right to kill the offending party. The fact that you can afford teams of attorneys to defend you actually does make a big difference in your case. So two facts of life: you can't kill people who treat you unfairly, and money talks.


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