Ryan Frederick is a 29-year-old Chesapeake, Virginia man who shot and killed a police officer during a drug raid on his home last January. Police were searching for a major marijuana growing operation an informant had told them they'd find in Frederick's garage. They found only a few joints in Frederick's living room.
Over the last several months, I've noticed that the web comments to the Virginian-Pilot's coverage of the Frederick case have gone from almost universal calls for Frederick's head on a plate in the days following the raid to, lately, a healthy majority expressing skepticism toward the Chesapeake Police Department, and a pretty strong showing of support for Frederick.
It looks like Special Prosecutor Paul Ebert has noticed, too.
The special prosecutor in the case against Ryan Frederick, the Chesapeake man accused of killing a city detective, wants the murder trial moved out of the Hampton Roads area.
The commonwealth has urged the court for a change of venue from Chesapeake to a court elsewhere in the state. Frederick is to stand trial Jan. 20 in Chesapeake Circuit Court on charges of capital murder, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony and possession with the intent to distribute marijuana.
Paul Ebert, the commonwealth's attorney from Prince William County appointed to the case, said the trial must be moved because pretrial publicity has made it impossible for the commonwealth to get a fair trial.
Frederick's attorney, James Broccoletti, said he opposes any move, arguing that the citizens of Chesapeake have not only an obligation but a right to sit in judgment in a case of this magnitude.
Actually, what Ebert wants is a knee-jerk jury that will convict upon hearing "marijuana" and "shot a cop," with no further deliberation.
It's pretty rare for a prosecutor to ask for a change of venue. The good news is that under Virginia law, Ebert isn't likely to get it. It's probably also bad news for Ebert's case that he's asking for one.
Prior coverage of the Frederick case here.