Violent Crime

DNA Could Offer Another Avenue for Serial's Syed

Feb 9, 2015
Hawes Spencer

The popular NPR podcast Serial is back in the headlines with news that a young Maryland man convicted of killing his high-school girlfriend will get the opportunity to appeal.

Here in Virginia, a separate effort is underway to determine whether the guy featured in Serial is the real killer.

Sharat Ganapti/Creative Commons

Should universities be required to report sexual assaults to police?  That a question being hotly debated in Richmond this week. 

After Jesse Matthew Junior was charged with kidnapping Hannah Graham, the public learned he was earlier accused of sexual assault at two other universities in Virginia.  That led Charlottesville Democrat David Toscano to draft  House Bill 2139 – a measure that would require schools to report such claims to police, and a new poll by the Commonwealth Education Policy Institute shows strong public support for the idea.

Photo: Hawes Spencer

Charlottesville police say the murder of two women over the weekend was not a random act – that a man now in custody knew at least one of his victims. 

Police Chief Tim Longo said the arrest of 30-year-old Gene Washington came after officers  searched outside the Barracks Road West apartment complex and questioned neighbors about the brutal murders of elementary school teacher Robin Aldridge and her 17-year-old daughter Mani.

Photo: Hawes Spencer

In the wake of Rolling Stone renouncing its own story about an alleged gang rape at the University of Virginia, some students say that Jackie, the undergraduate at the center of the storm, has been abused-- this time by the magazine.

"We are trying to stop a culture of blaming the victim, but that's exactly what they did: they blamed the victim."

That's Jacob Irby, as he meets up with members of a student singing group along Rugby Road. Another, Frank Song, says the article carved a path of destruction by portraying administrators and students as indifferent to rape.

Crime Novel Based on Historical Events

Dec 4, 2014

83 years ago on this day, prohibition ended in the United States. During the years when it was illegal to sell alcohol, a crime syndicate was born whose tentacles still stretch to the present day.

Prohibition is the setting for Virginia Tech's Ed Falco's new book.  "Toughs" is the fictionalized, real life story of one of the first drive by shooting on record.  The result of the gangland feuds that characterized prohibition.  His new book has awful resonance with gangland drive-bys today.