Former UVA Police Officer Enters Alford Plea for Shooting his Son

Posted: Updated:

A former University of Virginia police officer is accepting a Alford plea agreement in connection to the fatal shooting of his son. 

85-year-old Donald Short submitted an Alford plea in Albemarle Circuit Court on Friday, August 25. The plea means that Short admits there is enough evidence to convict him of involuntary manslaughter. He had previously been facing a charge of second-degree murder and and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.

The prosecution acknowledged that Short was acting in self-defense when shot his son, 47-year-old Matthew, twice back on November 9, 2016.

Matthew Short sustained injuries to his leg and abdomen. The Medical Examiner determined that the gunshot wound to the abdomen is what caused him to die three days after the incident. 

According to court documents, the former officer was the one who called police to the scene where he shot his adult son.   

Additionally, those documents indicate that Short testified that Matthew was acting "strange" that day. In that same statement the defendant said, "[Matthew's] totally unbalanced and his brother keeps telling me he's taking drugs and stuff too … It's not really strange for him because he's mentally ill for a long time and many times in the past we've called 911."

In another statement Short described his son as "out of control."  

Short continues to be free on bond, no longer required to wear an electronic monitor and is scheduled sentenced December 5.