Update: Defendant in Charlottesville Murder Case Enters Alford Pleas
Gene Everett Washington, the man accused of murdering an Albemarle County school teacher and her teenage daughter, has entered Alfords pleas.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The man accused of murdering an Albemarle County school teacher and her teenage daughter is entering a plea deal.
Thirty-two-year-old Gene Everett Washington appeared in Charlottesville Circuit Court Wednesday, June 21. He entered Alford pleas to the capital murder of 58-year-old Robin Aldridge, and amended second-degree murder of 17-year-old Mani Aldridge.
An Alford plea is not an admission of guilt, but instead recognizes there is enough evidence to get a conviction.
Before Wednesday’s plea, Washington had been facing charges of one count of capital murder in the commission of a robbery, two counts of first-degree murder, and one charge of robbing a residence.
As a result of the plea deal, Washington will not face the death penalty, and the prosecution will also drop the robbery charges.
“The commonwealth is certainly pleased with the guilty plea today. We had consulted with family and friends in reaching today's result,” Charlottesville Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Elizabeth Killeen said.
“Ultimately, did we think he was going to be found guilty of something? Yes,” said Capital Defender Office Deputy Jennifer Stanton.
Firefighters discovered the bodies of the two women in their burning home on Rugby Avenue on December 4, 2014.
Killeen told the court Wednesday that the victims suffered blunt force trauma and stab wounds.
Prosecutors said bloody evidence discovered in a dumpster at Washington's apartment complex and the Aldridge's cell phones found in his possession tied him to the killings.
“Let's just say his version of what happened is not the same version as what the commonwealth's version is,” Stanton said.
Attorneys on both sides also disclosed during the hearing that phone and social media records show Washington had contact with Mani in the months leading up to her death.
“He and Mani Aldridge had a very close relationship for some period of time before any of this happened,” said Stanton.
The defense had previously argued that Washington did not fully understand the extent of the charges against him. An evaluation determined he was competent to stand trial.
A three-week jury trial had been slated to get underway on September 13.
Washington is now scheduled to be sentenced on September 25. His capital defenders plan to detail Washington's version of events of that December night at that hearing.