Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

February 21, 2014

Judge OKs crime-scene visit in Va. triple slaying

Associated Press

MADISON, Va. — Attorneys for a Newport News man accused in the slaying of three in Madison County have been granted permission to visit the scene of the killings.

The Star-Exponent of Culpeper reported Friday that a circuit judge granted the defense motion this week in the case of Rashad Riddick. He is scheduled to stand trial in September on a capital murder charge.

The current owners of the property opposed the visit, calling it an invasion of privacy, Madison County Commonwealth’s Attorney George Webb said.

Riddick is charged in the February 2011 slayings of James Clark Jackson, 55; his wife, Karen Lee Jackson, 53; and her daughter, Chante Latrice Davis, 26. James Jackson was Riddick’s uncle.

Riddick has pleaded not guilty. His trial is set to begin Sept. 15.

Madison County Circuit Judge Daniel Bouton approved the request for an approximately 90-minute visit to the rural horse farm where the victims lived and worked. Webb told the judge it was not necessary for court-appointed defense attorneys Joseph Flood and Stephen Rosenfeld to personally visit the crime scene as they had already been provided photos and a video of the house.

Rosenfeld argued that the visit was necessary to gain insight on spatial context and the “auditory effects” on neighbors and potential hunters in the area of the blasts of the shotgun believed to be the murder weapon.

Bouton, while sympathizing with the home owner and tenant, said the law clearly says a defendant — especially in a capital murder case — has a constitutional right to access the scene of the crime for which they are accused.

“The conditions of the crime scene are relevant in a homicide case,” he said.