GPS prevails: Hogshire decision delays rapist's stalking trial
Edward Hogshire, the judge who presided over the recent second-degree murder conviction of George W. Huguely V, made a last-minute decision about electronic evidence in another criminal trial that plunged the defense into such a quandary that despite the assembly of victim, witnesses, and potential jurors at the Charlottesville Circuit Courthouse, the defense won permission to continue the case.
On February 29, Hogshire was slated to launch a new trial for Jeffrey Kitze, the so-called "graduation day rapist," on the stalking charge for which he was convicted last year in General District Court. However, Hogshire's day-earlier decision to allow Global Positioning System, or GPS, data into evidence delayed the trial because, according to courthouse sources, the defense now has to formulate new strategies.
Kitze is the man convicted of the notorious rape of his sister's roommate, a crime that involved bashing the woman's head with a tire iron both before and after the rape, which bizarrely occurred the day after both women graduated from UVA Law School in 1989.
Having described the incident as "an irresistible impulse" in court testimony, Kitze has been closely watched by authorities since his January 2009 release, and wore a GPS unit.
In the pending case, Kitze allegedly started unnerving young women when he volunteered for Virginia Organizing Project, and by October 5, 2010, his parole was revoked. But it was his volunteerism for an organization called Food Not Bombs, and his unwanted attentions toward a woman in that organization that brought the stalking charge when he continued to write to her from jail.
He was convicted of misdemeanor stalking on January 10, 2011, and sentenced to two months. A conviction in Circuit Court might solidify his new release date: November 19, 2019.
Kitze's first trial in 1990 was prosecuted by the same man who pressed the conviction against Huguely: Dave Chapman, then working for the Albemarle commonwealth's attorney. That conviction was overturned on appeal, and four years later Kitze was retried and sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Wearing a navy suit Wednesday morning, the curly-haired Kitze, 51, briefly won some proximity to his parents, who, his mother said after the hearing, had driven nine hours from upstate New York. His attorney, Charles "Buddy" Weber, recently represented convicted-wife killer Eric Abshire.
Kitze's new appeal date is August 7.