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Charity nixes free wheelchair for man who killed UK football player

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) – reA Florida-based charity has canceled a plan to give a new custom wheelchair to Shane Ragland who admitted to killing University of Kentucky football player Trent Digiuro in 1994.

The Darrell Gwynn Foundation scrapped the plan to donate the wheelchair to Ragland during the Holley National Hot Rod Reunion on Saturday in Bowling Green after learning of his past criminal record. They released the following statement to WKYT:

"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 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."

Ragland pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter in the shooting death of DiGiuro, after Ragland's original murder conviction was thrown out in 2002.

Earlier this year, a judge lifted an emergency protective order Ragland after his girlfriend claimed he tried to hit her in the head with a metal rod and then tried to run her over with his wheelchair.

Ragland sustained a spinal cord injury in 2012 during an automobile accident.

In its original release, the charity says Ragland "is need of a custom manual wheelchair to improve his health and give him the independence he deserves. The donation by the Darrell Gwynn Foundation will give Shane the gift of mobility and allow him to live a much more active life, be engaged with the community, spend time with his family and, most importantly, allow him to return to the workforce."

On its website, the Darrell Gwynn Foundation says its mission is to support people with paralysis and prevent spinal cord injuries.


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