Controversy over recent events evolving in Virginia Beach has left the world of criminal law in awe. In a shocking twist of events, the state of Virginia’s ban on capital punishment renders a hitman’s plea deal invalid. As he rescinds his confession for the death of a woman and child and injury of a man and two family pets, prosecutors are unable to pursue the man who hired him. Randall Page Law hopes to inform the public on the complex reality of criminal defense lawyers in Virginia while providing solutions to those involved in such cases.
Cristopher Schmidt has been a controversial figure over recent years in Virginia Beach for allegedly hiring a hitman to kill his wife. Schmidt has been held in jail for three years on the charges but was never actually convicted of the crime. The incident in question left not only Schmidt’s ex-wife dead but also her 7-year-old son of another man in a gruesome altercation in June of 2004. Schmidt’s brother-in-law was also shot and injured during the home invasion.
Schmidt is being released from jail as the man who Schmidt allegedly hired as the hitman is refusing to cooperate with law enforcement officials. Richard Stoner withdrew all of the guilty pleas and refused to release any more information to the investigation team. This move came as Stoner’s original request asked prosecutors to not seek the death penalty in his case in exchange for a guilty plea. When the Commonwealth of Virginia rescinded the death penalty as a means of punishment for convicted criminals, Stoner’s guilty pleas became irrelevant. The move was approved by Virginia Beach Circuit Judge Steven Frucci as the change in law technically invalidated the plea deal.
Prosecutors were largely banking on Stoner’s plea deal, stating that without it they did not believe they had a strong enough case. “The commonwealth sees no other option,” Virginia Attorney Colin Stolle stated at a court hearing in recent days. Prosecutors are reportedly banking on the hope that Stoner will cooperate with them in the future, according to Macie Allen, the spokesperson for the prosecution team.
The case only picked up when Stoner came forth with a confession in the first place. He was the confessor to killing Schmidt’s family, at the request and payment of Schmidt himself. As of now, Stoner still faces trial. The former Indiana Army veteran states that he plans on invoking his Fifth Amendment rights if called to testify against Schmidt – rights afforded by the U.S. Constitution that protect oneself from self-incrimination.
Prosecutors involved in the case are worried about the future of Stoner’s trial as they requested to use transcripts from Stoner’s confession as a last-ditch effort. Judge Lewis originally said that this decision could not be made until Stoner triggers his Fifth Amendment rights. This troubles prosecutors as – should they be barred from using the transcripts and lose the case – they would not be allowed to try the defendants another time on the same charges due to the double jeopardy rule.
While Schmidt’s charges were dropped as they are unable to use the transcripts against him in court, they can be presented at Stoner’s trial. Cristopher Schmidt is now a free man, a truth that is expected to remain indefinite should the prosecution team fail to find more evidence linking him to the death of his family.
Randall Page Law recognizes the difficulties of criminal defense law. So often, people are accused of other people’s crimes and their extenuating circumstances have thrown out the window. If you or a loved one is seeking a competitive Virginia criminal defense attorney, look no further than Randall Page Law. Please call us at 757-517-8956 or click here for more options to secure your future.