Ryan Frederick Trial Begins

A jury of 12 with 2 alternates was seated by 2:30 PM today. Jurors were questioned in groups of three yesterday and today. After the first 2 or 3 groups, the process is about as repetitive as watching a traffic light, Red comes after Yellow every damned time. Prosecutor Ebert used an analogy explaining the nature of circumstantial evidence which may come back to haunt him. As he put it. ‘If you go to bed and the ground is bare, and when you wake up it is covered  with snow, you may not have seen it snow, but you know it has occurred.’

Seating a jury did not prove all that difficult. Several potential jurors were dismissed for cause, such as having a spouse who was an auxiliary policeman or stating that they would believe a defendant who did not take the stand to be guilty. I suspect some simply did to want to serve and knew how to answer to be stricken.

After the jury was seated, they were taken out of the room so judge Arrington could consider motions. First was the request of the defense to enter into evidence a map of the Portlock area showing the sites of violent crimes over the last year, as support of his contention that Frederick was justified in suspecting a home invasion. The prosecution objected claiming there was no proof Frederick knew of each of those crimes. As though someone living in South Norfolk would have to know of every single crime to be aware that South Norfolk is not typical of much f the rest of Chesapeake.  Judge Arrington took the matter under advisement to rule later when the evidence would be timely.

The Defense also wanted to show a video of Frederick’s appearance at the time of the raid. Frederick has gained about 70 pounds during his incarceration and the defense wanted jurors to see him as he was (about 100 lbs.) and dressed in pajamas. The video was shown later during Brocoletti’s opening.

Prosecutor James Willet then made his opening statement. I have to say he spins a pretty good yarn. If his opening was all I had to go on, I’d convict Frederick myself. He started out tugging at the jury’s heartstrings about the tragedy of Det. Shivers death and the heartbreak of his family.  No one could argue that, but it has little to do with the issues of the case.

Then he painted Frederick as a drug crazed monster bent on mindless killing. I had not been aware that was a characteristic of marijuana users. Then he turned to the necessity of using felons as informants in drug cases and the necessity of trusting their testimony.

He went on to describe how the police carefully planned how to serve the warrant and of the necessity of serving it with overwhelming force because they knew Frederick’s home had been burglarized and he would be wary.

Seriously, he actually said that knowing of the burglary and that Frederick would be nervous as a result was a central issue in their planning.

He also admitted that they knew there was no evidence in the house that could be destroyed so they could take their time.  He  went on to explain the police arrived in two vehicles, and that they all were wearing uniforms with POLICE plainly displayed. He described the Det. Kylie Roberts announcing their presence and asserted that Frederick had to have known they were there and caught unaware, reacted in a drug crazed rage.

Further, he claimed after the arrest, Frederick had bragged of his deeds to other inmates.

As I said, it was an impressive performance. It was also a pack of lies, soon to be exposed.

Immediately after he finished, defense attorney Brocoletti asked to have the jury removed and demanded that a video showing an interview immediately after the arrest in which the interviewing detective observed that Frederick did not appear  to be under the influence and in which Frederick coherently denied being high.

More importantly,  Broccoletti pointed out that the previous claims made by the prosecution a the hearing on suppressing the search warrant were inconsistent with Willets claim that that knowledge was central in the police planning of the raid. One way or the other, the prosecution has perpetrated a fraud on the court, either lying then or lying now.  Broccoletti  has asked for a mistrial and Judge Arrington will rule on that prior to the resumption of the trial tomorrow.

Even if he doesn’t get the mistrial, the issue of the suppression of the warrant should be reopened. Frederick did not report the burglary. The police admit they knew it had happened, but the prosecution now claims they knew of the burglary from Steven Wright, their informant, but that they did not know at the time he was one of the burglars. Of course, there was no other way for him to know the details of the burglary except to have been there. That would  be the snow on the ground Ebert was talking about. Someone has some explaining to do. The possibilities are limited. Either the police lied to the prosecutors in their sworn statements, or one or the other of the prosecutors lied to the court.

Pending Judge Arrington’s ruling on these matters, Broccoletti made his opening statement. He acknowledged the tragedy of Det. Shiver’s death but explained that the issue was not how good a man Shivers was, but who was responsible for his death. He then took apart Willet’s case item by item.

First, he showed a photo of the actual van the police arrived in. It was a nondescript grey van with non-matching rims with no markings of any kind to indicate it was a police vehicle. He then showed photos of the clothing Det. Shivers was wearing when he was shot. This consisted of a pair of blue jeans, a black ‘hoodie’ jacked with a Quicksilver Logo occupying most of both arms and a khaki tactical vest with a small patch, about 2 x  4 inches with POLICE on it, the only emblem of any kind visible.

He then pointed out that Frederick was never given the opportunity to open the door and accept the warrant, that as soon as movement was seen, the door was breached, and that neighbors heard Frederick’s dog barking, and of the door being struck, but not the police announcement.

So,  we are now to believe that Frederick knew the police were coming, and decided to lie in wait for them to fight it out with a heavily armed SWAT team with an underpowered handgun and only six rounds of ammunition, and no escape route available.

In his pajamas.

It is hard to imagine the prosecution retaining any credibility after that.

We can, put to rest a few lingering questions. Broccoletti admitted Frederick grew marijuana, but only for his own use and not for sale.

The mysterious bullet hole was explained. Frederick fired one shot at the arm he saw reaching through the broken out lower portion of his door, then retreated to his bedroom, that shot passed through the broken out opening and struck Det. Shivers in the front yard. In attempting to let down the hammer in the bedroom, Frederick accidentally fired the second shot which made the hole in his wall. That leaves no unaccounted for holes. So, the previously unexplained .223 casing found in the yard probably did fall from a policeman’s gear as they claimed.

I will be back tomorrow and Friday as evidence is introduced and will report again tomorrow night.


29 Responses to Ryan Frederick Trial Begins

  1. Ernie Nilsen says:

    Thank you so much, Don, for reporting from the trial. I hope the prosecutors lies are as transparent to the jury as they seem to us. I thought the old yarns from the days of Reefer Madness had been laid to rest. Still praying that justice will be done and the excesses of the police will be exposed.

  2. Carrie says:

    Hi Dr.
    Thank you for taking the time to report this. It has given me a whole new opinion on it. I do not understand the warrant part. Is the Pros. saying they didn’t intend to get one? Can you clarify that for the dumb folk please?

  3. Don Tabor says:


    The issue with the warrant is how it was obtained. If the police knew their confidential informant saw what he claimed to have seen in the course of committing a burglary and did not make that clear to the magistrate, then they obtained the warrant through a fraud on the court and it would be invalid.

    We now know that the informant was the burglar, that the police knew of the burglary(which had not been reported) from their informant, but the prosecution maintains that the police did not know their informant actually participated in the burglary, and did not even ask him if he had, until later.

    This would be possible only if the police were naive idiots.

    Believing this would be equivalent to waking up to see that snow on the ground and automatically assuming it had been trucked in and carefully spread by elves.

  4. claude says:

    Great job reporting this. Ryan has a good lawyer.

  5. Pratt says:

    Who wrote this??? Spell checkers and grammer checkers are free these days!

  6. Don Tabor says:

    Sorry about the spelling errors. I was posting it as I wrote it to make it available ASAP. I spell checked at the end. It should be corrected now.

  7. penny jarvis says:

    Thank you for doing this. I have been following this case and quite honestly, I cannot get much info. from the newspapers. I do hope this young man is let go!!!

  8. John B. says:

    That is not how you spell grammar, or was it intended as a joke? Anyway, This is my first visit to this blog/website: Outstanding, informative, keep up the good work!

  9. Don B. says:

    Dear Dr. Don:

    I applaud you for your efforts to get the real information out to the public. I can’t wait to see what kind of a job the Pilot does in reporting this trial. Something tells me that they won’t be able to hold a candle to you, and your selfless efforts.

    A skinny kid, in his jammies, who accidentally fires into his wall while trying to decock his mousegun? Yeah, he really sounds like a drug-crazed killer……NOT!

    Again….many thanks!

  10. KBCraig says:

    Doc, thanks for the great reporting.

    Mistrial? Screw mistrial, if I was the defense I’d move for dismissal with prejudice!

    I’m curious about one thing: I thought Ryan had a Hi-Point .380, which is a striker-fired gun. There is no hammer to lower. Did I have incorrect info? (Someone unfamiliar with firearms, in such a stressful situation, could easily fire unintentionally while trying to unload or make the gun safe, no matter how it operates.)

    This case is why I subscribe to Tidwater Liberty. I can count on good information here, on the Virginia section of opencarry.org, and Radley Balko at theagitator.com.

  11. Don Tabor says:


    I am familiar with the .380 cartridge having owned a Walther prior to reading the ballistics and realizing its limitations, but I am not familiar with the particular handgun RF had. I think Broccoletti’s words were that RF accidentally fired the 2nd round while trying to de-cock the handgun. I guess I improperly assumed a slipped hammer accident.

    But what is important is that the hole in the wall is accounted for so we need not speculate on the .223 round any further and can focus on the very real remaining issues.

  12. Erica says:

    Thank You for your time.

  13. Len Rothman says:

    Anyone who doesn’t think we have a dangerous judicial and law enforcement system needs to read your accounts of the Frederick case. The role of many, if not most, prosecutors is not to arrive at the truth, but to increase conviction rates. I am not sure how these folks can sleep at night, but I suppose we can have sociopaths in law enforcement as well as among the criminal elements.

    Don, I commend you for your tireless efforts in this case and to try to bring some reason and light to a dangerous overstepping of legal bounds by both the CPD and the prosecutors. And, to top it all off, you do write well, despite the jibing from a couple of well meaning posters.

    Thank you.

  14. […] other huge inconsistency in the state’s case came out in opening arguments. From the Tidewater Liberty blog: [Willett] went on to describe how the police carefully planned how to serve the warrant and of the […]

  15. […] other huge inconsistency in the state’s case came out in opening arguments. From the Tidewater Liberty blog: [Willett] went on to describe how the police carefully planned how to serve the warrant and of the […]

  16. LAF1958 says:

    James Broccoletti is awesome !!!

  17. ktc2 says:

    Thanks Mr. Tabor! I will be checking your site often for updates.

  18. Charity Ann says:

    thank you! while there is little to NO national coverage I have been watching this closely thanks to you.

    10 gold stars for you!

    True reporting!

    Hooray for the 1st amendment!

  19. bigmike says:

    I saw where the prosecutors put Shivers’s widow on the stand. They must not have a case at all if they have to try to pull at the heart strings of the jury on the very first witness. What did she witness? She couldn’t have seen her husband get shot. This is a sad incident and I really feel for the detectives widow and kids but face it, the wrong person is on trial. The magistrate that issued the warrant, the division head, police chief, informers/robbers and others should be on trial. Not some young man that was scared for his life.

  20. Wither The Fourth Estate?…

    The trial of Ryan Frederick began yesterday. I couldn’t get the time off work to be there yesterday or today. I will be there on Friday. I wish I could have been there, though, because the prosecution has already stuck their feet in their mouths a few…

  21. JMCross says:

    It is my understanding that the handgun was a Bersa Thunder 380(similar to a Walther PPK). It has a hammer and a decocking safety.

  22. Tom says:

    Thanks for your coverage!!! Make no mistake about this, the prosecutor is gonna do everything in his power to convict Ryan. This was yet another example of “cowboy” police tactics. There were many chances to arrest Ryan yet Police chose to come to his house under cover of darkness.
    Officer Shivers’ death IS a tragedy but the blame falls on the way Police handled this, NOT Ryan
    No matter how this turns out, lives have been ruined. The Shivers family have lost a husband and father and Ryan has had a year of his life wasted while he sat in jail.
    This could have ALL been avoided had the Police performed their duties properly

  23. penny jarvis says:

    I have a question, please…Last June I was a member of the jury for the case that involved a motel murder. The gentleman killed had been staying at the motel while working and he was murdered after being robbed by another motel resident. In any case the defendent changed his plea two days into the trial. My question is this…Why do they put the survivors of the deceased on the stand? A sister of the deceased spoke at the murder trial and the defending attorney loudly objected stating that she was not a witness etc. We all felt badly but it really had nothing to do with the case. Is this done to play on the emotions of the jury??? In your opinion, please, do you think jury members buy into it. I feel badly for this kid.

  24. Brian McDonald says:

    Thank you for your time and clarity of reporting Dr.Tabor.The person who issued this warrant is as responsible for this death as Fredrick unless he was given false information from the detectives,then they would fit those shoes.Nothing could make this less tragic for the deceased officer, his family and friends and we all pray for their comfort.That said,If all the skinny kids who like to smoke a little weed and try to grow a pot plant in their garage must be stopped in a nighttime raid at any cost ,than we here in Chesapeake will never get any sleep and should open our calendar to prepare for more funerals.He had no history of violence.He was probably scared out of his mind as I and most would be.They new he had a gun and that he was recently robbed which is all the more reason to rethink their approach.
    That warrant could probably have been served without incident anytime during the daylight with a simple knock on the door,or maybe waiting in the van for him to come out.
    The problem I have with Ryan’s innocence has to do with what I was taught by my father who was a Norfolk Police Officer in the 60’s:That when you fire a gun,you are responsible for that bullet until it stops moving.If you fire at a “bad guy” and that bullet goes through him and kills an innocent person behind him,you are still in the wrong.Because of that ,Ryan is certainly guilty of something.Im not sure if that is manslaughter or even a lesser crime,but we cannot fire any weapons through doors or windows unless we know who/what we are shooting at and that it is safe and there is just cause to do so.I just do not see how he can be guilty of murder under these circumstances and if he receives anything like a fair trial,it will be because of honest reporting such as this.Thank you again.

  25. Jumbo Jim says:

    The Chesapeake Police Department botched this arrest BIG TIME and now Ryan Frederick is paying the price.

    How about using a little bit of common sense in making the arrest? The CPD could have had one pair of officers arrest Frederick as he arrived at work while another pair searched his house.

    Or if they wanted to get Frederick at home, then just be there when he returns home from work. It’s not rocket science!

  26. Jumbo Jim says:

    And of course, Detective Shivers’ family and friends are paying a heavy price indeed.

  27. wtf says:

    They went there to raid and intimidate that kid.They were either intentionally using these overkill tactics as a show of strength or some sort of “Russian roulette” warrant serving practice.These measures would only be warranted if he had hostages or was threatening with explosives or something.They never really believed he was any big menace to society,just a target to exercise there “protection of the community.”

  28. […] 2, 2009 · No Comments To which I would like to direct all readers at Tidewater Liberty.  Ongoing trial of homeowner who shot and […]

  29. Cheryl says:

    Thanks dr. for all the information. I have relied on you for the facts. We are certainly not getting them from the paper or TV. I am sorry a man lost his life, but there is no reason to make it two. The evidence of marijuana manufacturing was not found, no plants or materials for packaging, etc. There was no logical explanation for this kind of raid. Ryan is not a violent criminal, he works, has a home and from all outward appearances is a “normal” citizen who just happened to smoke pot. He was protecting his home. He looks like a clean cut young man, and looked like a scared little boy immediately after his arrest. He certainly expressed remorse. I respect police and think they have dangerous jobs. I also know that if you kill a cop, you are going to jail, no matter what. I am surprised they didn’t kill Ryan. Guess there was no way to cover that up. I doubt we will never know all the facts and what really happened. It is sad that a productive member of society will probably spend the rest of his life in prison, because he was defending his life.

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