"Were you lying then, or are you lying now?"
We continue to be absolutely amazed at the gall of Shane Ragland, the young Frankfort man who recently pleaded guilty to killing UK football player Trent DiGiuro more than a decade ago.
The DiGiuro family has filed a wrongful death suit against Ragland, based in large part on Ragland's plea of guilty to second-degree manslaughter in the 1994 shooting. Ragland continues to maintain that he didn't go it, but he pleaded guilty only because the deal offered was credit for time served (around 8 years, most of which was on an initial conviction for murder that was later overturned).
The DiGiuros rightfully argue that Ragland's admission of guilt means just that -- he admitted he did it. But now Ragland's defense attorney in the civil suit claims that one of the defenses Ragland may use during the trial is that he didn't do it.
Initially, Ragland's lawyer said he probably would not fight the civil suit, in large part because he has no recoverable assets. The DiGiuros, however, know that Ragland has a wealthy farmer and they are trying to, in effect, attach his future inheritance.
The problem with Ragland now saying that he didn't shoot DiGiuro might be OK, except for the pesky little fact that Ragland swore under oath in open court that he did it. No matter the too-good-to-pass-up sentencing circumstances that led him to accept the guilty plea, he said he did it. If he wanted to maintain innocence, he could have accepted an Alford plea and gotten the same sentence.
If Ragland really didn't do it (and is there anyone out there who really believes he's innocent?) then he committed perjury during his sentencing. If he did it, and is now claiming he didn't, he's perjuring himself in the civil suit.
This is a line that prosecutor Jack McCoy on "Law & Order" would jump all over. "Were you lying then, or are you lying now?"