Trial Date Set for Man Charged in Rugby Avenue Murders

Posted: Updated: Aug 12, 2015 12:15 PM

The man accused of murdering two Charlottesville women in 2014 will face a jury next year.  Wednesday morning Charlottesville Circuit Court Judge Moore set a trial date of May 23, 2016 for 30-year-old Gene Washington.  

Police believe he beat and killed Hollymead Elementary school teacher Robin Aldridge and her 17-year-old daughter Mani in December 2014.  Investigators say he then set fire to their Rugby Avenue home before stealing the Aldridge family car and other belongings.  Police sources have said the belongings were found inside Washington’s Barracks West apartment.

Because he is charged with capital murder, under state law Washington gets special counsel to represent him.  The problem is the capital defense office says it's swamped, and low on money because it is already busy preparing for Jesse Matthew’s July 2016 capital murder trial for the death of Hannah Graham in Albemarle County.

The defense asked for an October 2016 trial but the judge overruled, saying in court: “I know it's uncomfortable, it's just part of this business."

Judge Moore also ruled that taxpayers will foot a large portion of the bill for Washington’s defense team's trial prep since it's a capital murder case. The defense team will be allowed to spend up to $20,000 of taxpayer money for trips and documents.

Even though prosecutors haven't decided whether to seek the death penalty, this is a complex case. Similar to what we've seen in the Jesse Matthew case, the judge has already set several lengthy motions hearings ahead of trial. Those will happen in October 5, 2015, December 7, 2015, and February 3, 2016.   

The trial is scheduled to take three weeks.

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