Chase Students Involved in Successful Post-Conviction Challenge in Murder Case

Jennifer Carpenter and Jessica Powell

Two Chase students were part of the Kentucky Innocence Project team that successfully pursued the case of a man who had been imprisoned 28 years on a murder conviction.

Jennifer Carpenter, who is to be graduated in May, and Jessica Powell, who was graduated in December, began working on the case during the 2016 academic year. A Campbell County, Ky., grand jury decided in December, there was not enough evidence to retry William Virgil for the murder that occurred 30 years ago in Newport.

“I helped Mr. Virgil's lead attorney, Elliot Slosar, with research on issues related to the potential of prosecutorial misconduct and the destruction of potential exculpatory evidence,” Ms. Carpenter says. “I spent an afternoon with Mr. Slosar in an attempt to locate witnesses and I attended all but one of Mr. Virgil's court hearings.”

 Mr. Virgil was released from prison in December 2015 and granted a new trial after DNA evidence unavailable at his trial in 1987 could have excluded him as a suspect. The commonwealth attorney plans to have that evidence retested.