Decision on Whether to Retry Michael Hash Due Today…


Previous coverage of case here

From the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

Michael Wayne Hash, whose 2001 capital murder conviction was overturned by a federal judge in February, likely will learn today whether he will be freed or retried.

Raymond F. Morrogh, the Fairfax commonwealth’s attorney appointed special prosecutor in the case, is set to appear in Culpeper Circuit Court this morning to report on his investigation into the 1996 slaying of Thelma B. Scroggins.

Hash was sentenced to life for the slaying of the 74-year-old Lignum woman shot to death during a robbery in her home. Two others were charged. Jason Kloby was acquitted, and Eric Weakly pleaded guilty after testifying against the other two.

In February, U.S. District Judge James C. Turk overturned Hash’s conviction, calling it a miscarriage of justice involving police and prosecutorial misconduct and gave authorities six months to decide whether to retry him.

In his 65-page opinion, Turk said Hash had made a showing of actual innocence.

The six-month period does not expire until Aug. 28, but Morrogh is expected to announce his decision today. At an earlier hearing, Morrogh told the court he had requested new DNA testing on crime scene evidence and that witnesses were being interviewed.

Longtime Culpeper Commonwealth’s Attorney Gary Close, who prosecuted Hash and the others, resigned in March, saying the controversy was a distraction to law enforcement.

Hash was 15 and living in the Lignum area of Culpeper County when Scroggins was slain. Convicted when he was 19, he was released from confinement in March and is living with his parents in Crozet and reporting regularly to authorities.

Hash’s lawyers declined to comment. Circuit Judge Jay T. Swett told lawyers involved in March that he did not want it tried in the newspapers.

Weakley, who served almost seven years in prison, is now free and has repudiated his confession and testimony implicating Hash.

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