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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2014

    KY - Retha Welch, 54, Newport, 13 April 1987

    In April 1987, Virgil was arrested for the gruesome murder of a Christian minister and Veterans Administration nurse, Retha Welch, who was 54. She was raped, stabbed repeatedly and bludgeoned with a vase. Her body was found in a blood-filled bathtub in her Newport home after she failed to show up for work.

    Virgil, who'd lived in Cincinnati, acknowledged that he and an on-and-off relationship with Welch but insisted he did not kill her. He refused to plead to the killing, Smith said in court records, because he wanted his day in court to prove he was innocent....

    [the Kentucky Innocence Project lawyer states]
    "Completed DNA testing of recently discovered hairs in this case conclusively proves that the Movant (Virgil) did not, in fact, have sex with or rape the victim, Retha Welch, at the time of her murder, nor was his hair on her person or clothing. This most recent testing further supports the previous DNA testing done in the case and is more evidence that William Virgil is an innocent man."

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    He squinted in the bright Christmas Eve sunshine, his first taste of freedom since Ronald Reagan was president. William "Ricky" Virgil was freed on bond Thursday after more than 28 years in prison for a murder he steadfastly claimed he never committed. "I really ain't gathered it all in yet," Virgil told The Enquirer as he walked out of the Campbell County jail. "I feel probably like being beamed up."

    Virgil, 63, was released on a $15,000 cash bond after the Kentucky Innocence Project won a motion to gain him a new trial....Virgil will stay at a cabin-like home in Carrollton owned by Calvary Ministries, which helps house ex-convicts. Bimp McAlister, a prison minister who said he'd met Virgil in prison in 1993 and believes in Virgil's innocence, posted the bond.

    "William is looking forward to going fishing," Smith said. "That's what he keeps telling me, 'I can't wait to go fishing.'"...

    A pretrial hearing for Virgil's new murder trial has been set for March.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    January 2017:

    Finally free: 30-year-old murder conviction dismissed


    William Virgil walked away from the Campbell County Courthouse a free man.

    "It's like what I told you all from the very beginning," a tearful Virgil said of his innocence.

    It was a dramatic but oddly quiet scene at the courthouse a block away from where someone beat and stabbed Retha Welch 30 years ago.

    Dressed in a gray suit, blue tie and felt fedora, Virgil hugged his attorneys and people with the Kentucky Innocence Project that helped set him free on Friday.

    Virgil has sued in federal court the cities of Newport, Norwood and Cincinnati as well as a dozen police officers from all three cities.

    But he said he's not angry.

    "I'm not going to allow anger to interfere with my life in the future," Virgil said. "It's a waste of time."
    Commonwealth's Attorney Michelle Snodgrass said a grand jury in December did not find enough evidence to re-try Virgil. She made it clear it doesn't mean Virgil is innocent.

    "I know that a grand jury does not make a declaration of innocence, which I do not think this is," Snodgrass told Circuit Court Judge Julie Reinhardt Ward. "However, as commonwealth's attorney, I think it's my duty to listen to what the grand jury said."

    Welch's murder is now an open case. Welch's family was not in attendance Friday at the courthouse.

    "I know this is a really hard day for them," Snodgrass said.
    Who killed Welch? We may never know

    Virgil's defense has proffered many other suspects, notably a 27-year-old man named Isaac Grubbs. Grubbs allegedly threatened Welch.

    But Grubbs can't be prosecuted. Newport police shot and killed him on April 11, 1987. Yes, that was two days before Welch's body was discovered. They shot him several blocks from Welch's apartment. Someone called about an intruder in the area. When police arrived, Grubbs didn't comply with police orders, officials said at the time.

    Oh, and he had a knife on him when he died.

    But when the Kentucky Innocence Project wanted to test a knife believed to be the murder weapon, they couldn't. Authorities had it destroyed in 2005.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    A recent podcast was done covering this case:

    A soft-hearted prison minister was found killed in her Kentucky apartment, and Newport police zeroed in on an ex-convict she’d counseled. Thirty years later, the conviction is overturned and the case is once again unsolved. The Cincinnati Enquirer investigates:

    Was William Virgil wrongly convicted for murder?

    Accused: The Unsolved Murder of Retha Welch

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