What's next in the Virginia criminal cases related to the death of Irvo Otieno?

What's next in the Virginia criminal cases related to the death of Irvo Otieno?

DINWIDDIE COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Seven Henrico County Sheriff’s deputies and three Central State Hospital workers charged with second-degree murder in connection with the in-custody death of Irvo Otieno have reportedly been released from jail, according to Dinwiddie County Commonwealth’s Attorney Ann Baskervill.

The 10 defendants were granted bond by a Dinwiddie County Circuit Court judge this week, with additional court dates set for April and May.

Charged on criminal information

8News Legal Analyst Russ Stone said Thursday that the handling of the cases thus far has been unusual, especially due to the way in which defendants were arrested and charged on criminal information.

“That is a perfectly legal mechanism for charging somebody. However, it is very rarely used,” he said. “The benefit to a prosecutor of charging somebody by information is that you can do it faster than by indictment, because an indictment has to go through a grand jury.”

This week, a grand jury of Dinwiddie County residents did move to indict all 10 defendants on the second-degree murder charges filed by the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office, formally confirming the legal accusations.

“The prosecutor has essentially avoided what is called a probable cause hearing,” Stone said. “She will never have to present probable cause evidence to a judge to determine whether all 10 of these individuals now will have to go to Circuit Court for a trial, essentially. They’re already in Circuit Court because she chose to do an information.”

Proving malice

Stone, as well as defense attorneys for the suspects charged in these cases, have noted that surveillance video — although rare to be publicly accessible so early in legal proceedings — may not be sufficient evidence to convict.

“They’re charged with second-degree murder, which, in Virginia, means the killing of another human being with malice, and malice is defined as being an intentional doing of a wrongful act without legal excuse or justification, with anger, hatred or revenge,” Stone said Thursday. “That’s what a jury would have to find in looking at that video, that these people, basically, intentionally were killing somebody with malice, and it will be a jury’s determination as to whether that happened. But, I can honestly say, I look at that video, I’m not sure I see that.”

If the 10 cases go to trial, Stone said that they could be tried together or separately. If tried separately, he noted that there could be efforts to negotiate down to lesser charges, or even have defendants with less alleged involvement testify against their co-defendants.

“Each and every defendant, their case has to be judged separately under the law, and that’s true even if they have a joint trial,” Stone said. “The simple fact that one person is found not guilty does not have any legal impact on whether or not another person is found guilty. Each person is going to be judge on the evidence against them.”

Virginia’s Model Jury Instructions for a jury considering a second-degree murder cases state that the Commonwealth must prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that “the killing was done with malice,” and that the individual charged was the individual who performed that action.

What’s next?

A judge set pre-trial hearing dates for the 10 defendants in April and May. At that time, the judge said there would be a general check-in on any additional information that may have been introduced, as well as a discussion about whether the case should proceed with a trial by judge or jury.

Video evidence from Central State Hospital and Henrico Jail West were released this week. Stone added that surveillance video from the hospital, provided thus far in the courtroom only in the form of still images, would need to be formally introduced as evidence and given to involved parties for review.

“I’m sure that some of the attorneys have filed discovery motions. Some may not have even done it yet, but they will within the next couple of days,” he said. “We don’t know all of the evidence yet. But I would think, at some point, members of both the Commonwealth and from the defense point-of-view are going to be considering talking to experts, people that are experts in how inmates are handled in jails, what you do under certain circumstances to have them come to court and, perhaps, educate the jury.”

Otieno’s family has also retained noted civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who worked with the family of George Floyd after his death.

“They’re looking into whether or not they can sue the County of Henrico, Central State Hospital, Commonwealth of Virginia, whoever they can think of to sue, and then possibly get some kind of recovery for the family of the victim,” Stone said. “That would be a completely separate trial that would occur most likely after the criminal trial is over with, because they would want to know what happens in the criminal trial first. If the criminal trial were to result in convictions of everybody, then they would probably feel that their civil cases even better.”

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8News Interview: Actor excited for Richmond to see Les Misérables at the Altria

8News Interview: Actor excited for Richmond to see Les Misérables at the Altria

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — 8News spoke with Addie Morales — the actor playing the role of Cosette in the Broadway in Richmond-featured production of Les Misérables — about her experience and her excitement for people to see the show.

“To me, Cosette is the light in the darkness of Les Mis. She helps tell the story of redemption as Jean Valjean,” Morales said. “We follow her story from childhood into adulthood. She also plays a young lover, which is nice in such a deep — and sometimes dark — show.”

Morales also spoke about the enduring musical and the impact that the story continues to have on audiences today.

“The reason Les Mis is still relevant and running is [that] it has to do with redemption, forgiveness, bettering yourself, learning lessons and coming into yourself,” Morales said. “We follow the story of Jean Valjean, who starts as a convict and ends up being a light in a lot of people’s lives.”

When asked if Morales had grown up watching Les Misérables, she said she hadn’t had the opportunity to see a professional production before acting in it.

“But, you know, when you grow up doing musical theatre, you know the classics, you’re spending hours on YouTube looking up every concert,” she said. “I knew a lot of Les Mis growing up.”

Les Misérables is playing at the Altria Theatre from now until Sunday, March 26. For more information, visit the Broadway in Richmond website.

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Summer Classics Home aims to make customers for life

Summer Classics Home aims to make customers for life


Traci and Scott Lantzy

From the living room to the patio, inside and out, Summer Classics Home helps people curate the home of their dreams.

Traci and Scott Lantzy took ownership of the indoor/outdoor home furnishings boutique two and a half years ago as licensees of the corporate parent company located in Birmingham, Alabama.

“When this opportunity came to us, we were thrilled,” Traci says. “We love working with people to make their homes look beautiful, and we’re able to do that with the support of our exceptional team.”

Summer Classics Home employs three designers highly skilled at bringing clients’ visions to life, an operations manager who ensures a seamless order and delivery process, and a warehouse manager.

They carry two luxury lines from their corporate partner Gabriella White Inc. The outdoor line, Summer Classics, has been an authority in outdoor spaces and durable design for more than 35 years. The indoor line, Gabby furniture, offers transitional upholstery complemented with a curated array of tables, cabinets, and more.

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Both Summer Classics and Gabby are customizable by frame, fabric and trim to create personalized pieces to match any taste.

To complete their client’s needs, Summer Classics Home also offers fire pits from a variety of sources, hand-selected accessories, and the highly coveted line of Tuuci umbrellas.

Whatever look they’re going for, Summer Classics Home customers can rest assured they’re purchasing handmade furnishings that have been built to last.

“If you’re buying indoor or outdoor furniture from us, you will own it for a very long time,” Traci says. “What we sell is livable luxury. This is high-quality, low-maintenance furniture you and your family can truly live in.”

For younger customers who may find some pieces a little cost-prohibitive, Traci recommends starting small with a single item and slowly building a collection around it.  


“Maybe you buy a coffee table you love now, then come back the next year and add a sofa, a chair or some lamps,” she suggests. “That way, you can curate a room over time without overextending yourself financially. That said, we do offer 12 months interest-free financing.”

“There’s a big difference between buying from us and buying from a wholesaler,” Traci points out. “We care so deeply about our brands and want to build relationships with our customers and in our community.”

The Summer Classics Home team strives to establish lasting relationships with customers from the moment they walk in the door of the 8,000-square-foot showroom, extending a warm welcome with coffee or a glass of wine. They’re even willing to make house calls to help clients envision exactly what they want in the space the furniture will go into.

“Once you buy a piece from us, we want you to come back and show us photos, let us know how you’re using it,” Traci says. “We want you to be our customer for life.”  

For more information about Summer Classics Home, call 804.935.3075 or visit summerclassicshome.com/Richmond.


Traci Lantzy

This content was produced by Brand Ave. Studios. The news and editorial departments had no role in its creation or display. Brand Ave. Studios connects advertisers with a targeted audience through compelling content programs, from concept to production and distribution. For more information contact sales@brandavestudios.com.

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Richmond's top axe throwers to compete in Scott's Addition

Richmond's top axe throwers to compete in Scott's Addition

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The International Axe Throwing Championship (IATC) Round I Tournament will be held — in part — in Richmond this weekend to decide which competitors will get a shot at the World Championship in Toronto later this year.

The Richmond event is being held on Sunday, March 26, at Shield N Sheath — located at 1511 Altamont Ave in Scott’s Addition. Of the eight axe throwers who qualified for this competition, the winner will be awarded the title of Central Virginia IATC Champion — which guarantees the opportunity to compete in the next round of IATC later this spring.

The top two competitors from this Richmond competition will receive bids to compete in Toronto for the World Axe Throwing Championships in Toronto on the weekend of June 9 and June 10.

“Axe throwing has taken Richmond by storm in recent years,” reads a release from Shield N Sheath. “Axe throwing venues are becoming more and more popular across the country, including here in Richmond.”

The owner of Shield N Sheath, Dan Pegg, qualified for the World Throwing Championships last year and placed in the top 64.

For more information on the IATC schedule and format, visit the website here.

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It has finally happened — Goshen Street has been repaved in Richmond

It has finally happened — Goshen Street has been repaved in Richmond

Along with many other streets in the Carver neighborhood

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Drivers of Richmond — it has finally happened. Goshen Street has been repaved.

The infamous, yet somewhat endearingly brutal, cobblestone road became widely known across the city as one of the roughest roads to drive your car, or even walk, down.

Stories of tripping while completely sober leaving Dunkin’ Donuts on the corner of Goshen Street and Broad Street on the way home from class were just small grains of sand on the beach of memories the road had to offer Carver neighbors and VCU students living off-campus.

Even Indianapolis Colts football tight end and former VCU Basketball star Mo Alie-Cox stated in a tweet, “Nothing worse than Goshen 🤣.”

The effort to repave by the City of Richmond Department of Public Works was announced in mid-February and included the following roads to be completed by March 24:

West Leigh Street between Bowe Street and Gilmer Street
Catherine Street between Bowe Street and Gilmer Street
West Clay Street between Bowe Street and Gilmer Street
West Marshall Street between Bowe Street and Gilmer Street
Kinney Street between West Marshall Street and West Leigh Street
Norton Street between West Marshall Street and West Leigh Street
North Harrison Street between Broad Street and West Leigh Street
Hancock Street between Broad Street and West Leigh Street
Goshen Street between Broad Street and West Leigh Street

What did it look like driving down Goshen Street before it was paved?

Colin Hess, a Richmond resident, said “I commend the City of Richmond for investing in their infrastructure on a long-neglected stretch of pavement but we will pour one out for the vehicles lost over the years to the VCU pothole monster.”

Colin Hess’ brother and former Catherine Street resident, Brandon Hess, said “I will miss the reenactment of being in a horse-drawn carriage” when driving down Goshen Street.

One Twitter user stated in a response to 8News Digital Executive Producer Tyler Thrasher, “[I] had an Uber driver get upset with me for needing to go down Goshen and they asked if they could drop me on the corner instead. I couldn’t even be mad.”

Goshen Street has been paved. This view includes the entrance on Broad Street near Dunkin’. (Photo: Kassidy Hammond/Tyler Thrasher/8News)

“Thankful that Goshen is finally safe for residents to drive on,” Andre Mollineau, former Catherine Street resident, said. “Better late than never, but my car’s axel would have appreciated this years ago.”

Many former Goshen Street frequenters will remember hitting their heads on the roofs of their vehicles as they drove down the now-smooth road, but no amount of asphalt can seal away the memories of the love-hate relationship that once was.

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A place for in-laws? Chesterfield could make it free to add suites to residents' homes

A place for in-laws? Chesterfield could make it free to add suites to residents' homes

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — It may soon be easier for family members in Chesterfield County to live in Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), also known as in-law suites, on single-family plots.

ADUs are add-on spaces above a garage or a cottage in the backyard that must have a kitchen and a bathroom to be considered an effective independent living space.

At a work session on March 21, County staff proposed reforming the current County Code on ADUs. The current regulation states anyone who wants to build an in-law suite on their property has to go through a troublesome zoning process, including a public hearing and a vote by the board of supervisors.

The proposal under consideration only wants residents to notify the County if they plan on adding an in-law suite to their yard with a few conditions on how to build one and who can live there.

To read more on the ADUs proposal, click BELOW:

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