Darrell Rice is Innocent

Darrell Rice "My sister's dead; why are police so incurious?"

The Free Lance-Star Opinion 
Date published: 1/29/2008

Do the DNA testing on Richard Marc Evonitz! When the original articles were written, I was very skeptical of The Free Lance-Star's motives. I thought that it was a ploy to sell more papers by stirring the pot around some sensational murders, including that of my twin sister, Alicia Reynolds ["Mum doesn't cut it," Jan. 24].

Regardless of your motives, I am stunned by the lack of response from the Virginia State Police to your stories. I am certain that the investigation into my sister's death has been difficult and time-consuming.

Now is the time to correct those mistakes, if any, by doing the DNA testing.

If Evonitz murdered my sister, I would like to know for sure.

Patrick Showalter

Murfreesboro, Tenn.

1/29/08 My sister's dead; why are police so incurious?  (link to Letter to the Editor in Free Lance-Star)

 Gould's series reveals illogical obsession with Rice as serial killer

The Free Lance-Star Opinion
Date published: 1/29/2008

TThere is nothing to justify the extraordinary attention Darrell Rice is receiving or the extraordinary security measures being taken against him ["Judge extends, expands electronic monitoring of Rice," Jan. 19].

In The Free Lance-Star on Nov. 18, Pam Gould reported in meticulous detail that despite many interrogations and undercover operations, investigators turned up nothing..."  click here to read the rest of the Letter to the Editor by Robert Inlow ...

1/29/08 Gould's series reveals illogical obsession with Rice as serial killer  (link to Letter to the Editor in Free Lance-Star)

  "The Nieman Watchdog," a publication of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University, published an essay by Pamela Gould entitled "How trusting should reporters be of law enforcement?"

"A small paper in Virginia recently produced an extraordinary 24-page special report on the authorities' relentless pursuit of the wrong man in a serial-killing case -- relating a series of missed clues, bad judgments, false statements and broken promises. Pamela Gould of the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star writes that the prosecution of Darrell Rice is a case study in why reporters need to be more skeptical of what police and prosecutors assert without proof – particularly when they are making assertions that go far beyond the actual charges. 

The project was launched as a result of coverage of the Prince William Circuit Court trial of Darrell Rice, a man accused of abducting one woman. The case had far broader implications, however, because police linked that case to a series of incidents in which women drivers were pulled over and one was killed. Thus, by extension, Rice was accused of being the killer dubbed the "29 Stalker." Beyond that, Rice already had been unsuccessfully pursued for two other killings about 40 miles away.

The abduction case ended with nothing resolved and left the newspaper with several questions... "  click here to read the rest of the essay ...

12/27/07 How trusting should reporters be of law enforcement?  (link to story in Neiman Watchdog)

  Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star publishes follow-up story to special section exonerating Darrell Rice

Families still want answers in deaths 

Relatives can't understand why state and federal law enforcement failed to forensically evaluate a known serial killer as a suspect and are assessing their options... 

12/23/07 Families still want answers in deaths  (link to story in FF L-S)

Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star publishes special section exonerating Darrell Rice

Good news! Darrell Rice’s TRUE story has recently become public. A journalist from the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, Ms. Pamela Gould, has spent the last two years, much of it full-time, reviewing the thousands of records from all of these cases, and she has just released a series of articles about what the federal government has put Darrell Rice through for the last 10 years, about the many unsolved homicides of women in central Virginia in 1996 and 1997, and about how the federal authorities may have stopped investigation into alternative suspects – once they had decided on Darrell Rice.

11/20/07 Chapter 1: Clues point to serial killer  (link to story in FF L-S)

11/20/07 Chapter 2: Relentless pursuit begins in murder cases   (link to story in FF L-S)

11/20/07 Chapter 3: Years-long pursuit of Darrell Rice yields no links   (link to story in FF L-S)

11/20/07 Chapter 4: Expert asked to check for Reynolds link   (link to story in FF L-S)

11/20/07 Chapter 5: Misstatements, DNA issues plague probe   (link to story in FF L-S)

11/20/07 Chapter 6 Victims' families want answers    (link to story in FF L-S)

Four Attorneys Summarize Darrell Rice's Innocence for Kent Island Community

Dear Kent Island Community,

We are four of the lawyers who have been defending Darrell Rice for five years. Never-- in our collective experience-- have any of us had a client who has been more maliciously and falsely prosecuted and trashed by the press than Darrell Rice. We can completely understand your feelings, given that you are reading and circulating the irresponsible articles written by the THe Hook . We provided considerable information to The Hook about Darrell Rice's innocence, but they ignored most of it, and utterly misstated some of it.

DNA evidence at the Shenandoah National Park crime scene exonerates Darrell  Rice completely. There was male DNA, hairs and fingerprints found at the crime scene, and none of it belonged to Darrell Rice. Three hairs were found that came back from the same source, and could not exclude serial killer Richard Marc Evonitz. For reasons that we will never understand, the government has declined to compare the male DNA to Richard Evonitz, a known serial killer who was killing in central Virginia during this time period, lived within easy driving distance of the crime scene, and is unaccounted for on the likely day of the murders.

Forensic evidence also cleared Darrell Rice of the murder of Alicia Showalter Reynolds. Relevant hairs, fibers, and fingerprints from that crime scene excluded Darrell Rice as well. Twice, the evidence in the Alicia Showalter Reynolds case was sent to the FBI laboratory to be tested against Richard Evonitz, and twice, that testing did not occur. The federal prosecutor in the Shenandoah National Park murder case concealed in court that there was no evidence linking Rice to that murder.

Could it be that the government doesn't really want to solve those crimes, because then Darrell Rice--the man they had pursued relentlessly for years-- would be exonerated?

The government interrogated Darrell Rice numerous times. They also used both jailhouse informants and undercover agents. Yet they never obtained any incriminating statements. When the tape the government claimed recorded Darrell Rice saying that he hated lesbians and they "made him mad" was enhanced, the government was forced to admit what Darrell Rice actually said was the opposite-- that the government was saying that he hated gays, and THAT made him mad.

The government has a 97% conviction rate, yet rather than give Darrell Rice his day in court after their seven-year "investigation," they dismissed the charges. That is because they had no case.

The prosecution's case against Darrell Rice in Prince William crumbled before the jury's eyes. The "victim" had identified three different men as her attacker, including a detective. She only identified Darrell Rice after his photo had been plastered in the news as the alleged Shenandoah National Park murderer. She ALSO identified the known serial killer Richard Marc Evonitz. Of course no comparision of hairs and fibers was ever done. Her recounting of the alleged attack, her attacker, and his truck changed markedly every time she told it.

Documents showed that Darrell Rice was two and a half hours away from Manassas with his counselor that night, and neither the Prince William prosecutors nor the AUSAs nor the FBI produced any evidence that he then drove to Manassas. The "victim" denied under oath having a criminal record, but documents demonstrated otherwise.

This is why, in the middle of that trial, prosecutors began scrambling for a deal. They offered many, and Darrell Rice declined them all. But when they offered to allow him to plead guilty but deny guilt, and to give him no additional time, we, as his attorneys, felt we had to insist that he take that deal. He did so reluctantly.

Every story has two sides, and as you can see, the other side of Darrell Rice's story has yet to be told. We have been told that there may soon be some balanced and well-researched writing about all of these allegations, and we hope that you will at least withhold judgement (and action) until you have read more.

You have nothing to fear from Darrell Rice, and we hope that he has nothing to fear from you. After all these years, we count him as a friend as well as a client, and he is welcome in our homes and around our children.

Thank you for your consideration,

Darrell Rice's Attorneys

Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star publishes Editorial

11/18/07 Justice Denied   (link to story in FF L-S)

Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star publishes transcript of Court hearing transcript from an Aug. 15, 2005, hearing in Prince William Circuit Court in Manassas where FBI SA Jane Collins and VSP SA Stan Gregg are trying to explain why the Alicia Showalter Reynolds evidence was never tested against Richard Marc Evonitz.

11/18/07 Transcript   (link to story in FF L-S)

Summary of Findings

Darrell Rice was charged with federal capital murder in 2002, and then in 2004 was charged with several serious felonies in Prince William, Virginia.

The government spent the intervening five years between their arrest of Darrell Rice in 1997 and Ashcroft’s 2002 indictment literally fabricating a case against Rice.

Darrell Rice’s indictment was announced personally by US Attorney John Ashcroft at a national press conference in Washington, D.C. Ashcroft stated that the US government was going to protect the gay and lesbian community. Ashcroft used the federal hate crime statute to indict Darrell Rice for the murders of two lesbian hikers in the Shenandoah National Park in 1996.

His pro bono attorneys spent more than two years wading through literally thousands and thousands of documents (of course, discovering all the exculpatory ones buried in a storage shed), they interviewed dozens and dozens of witnesses, slowly coming to realize that literally the entire case against Darrell Rice was manufactured. What the defense learned, before the charges were dismissed, was this:

  • There were no eyewitnesses to the murder;
  • There was no murder weapon;
  • There was no confession to the crime;
  • There was no established time of death;
  • The time-of-death that the US Attorney was asserting was contradicted by eyewitness testimony;
  • There was no motive for Darrell Rice to commit the crime.
  • There was male DNA at the crime scene, and it wasn’t Darrell Rice’s.
Perhaps most important, we realized that all of the above was known to the government at the time that Darrell Rice was indicted in 2002.