Inmate: 'He wanted to kill somebody that night'

news-woodson-cropI-64 shooter Slade Woodson listens to testimony in court Tuesday.

Explosive testimony Tuesday afternoon rocked the sentencing hearing of Slade Woodson, the young man whose shooting spree terrorized a Central Virginia highway a year ago and who pleaded guilty in March.

"He told me he did stupid things when he got drunk," testified Matthew Kurdziolek, a former jail roommate of Woodson, the teen whose shooting spree shut down Interstate 64 and Albemarle County schools a year ago. "He told me he wanted to kill somebody that night."

The Albemarle Circuit Court was quiet as the convict who shared a room with Woodson at Middle River Regional Jail described what he allegedly learned about the evening of March 26-27, when Woodson, then 19, and Brandon Dawson, 15, fired into five cars on I-64, injuring two people, and into two occupied residences in Albemarle, as well as one in Waynesboro.

The two even had a plan, according to the inmate, that exploited Dawson's status as a minor. "They knew the juvenile wouldn't do any time," said Kurdziolek, who was clad in striped prison attire. "If they got caught, Dawson would say he did it."

Before the lunch break of the June 23 hearing, two victims of the shooting spree also testified. Domenico D'Auria told how his family was sleeping in its Greenwood Station house when a bullet suddenly tore through the walls. Since the incident, his four-year-old son, who was in the shot-up front room, can't sleep alone.

Julia Diggs revealed how she was on her way home from her General Electric job westbound on I-64 when she passed under Greenwood Station Road/Route 690. She said she saw some lights flashing on the overpass.

"I heard a bang hit the roof of my car," she testified. "I was was not sure what was going on, but my back started burning."

Although not seriously injured, the woman told the court she continues to feel unsafe driving at night.

The hearing resumed after 2pm, when Woodson's family members were expected to render a more sympathetic portrayal of the young man who used enjoy off-road "mud-boggin'" and described himself as “just a poor country boy tryin to survive.”
Updated 5:20pm.


Linette, I doubt very seriously if the judge placed much faith in the testimony of a former jailhouse roommate. I would have to wonder if and how much time off the former jailhouse roommate was promised for testifying against Woodson. It happens, and inmates lie in order to advantage of the offer(s).

I was in court for the sentencing and as I understand it - the attorneys for the commonwealth are prohibited from making any offers for reduction of sentence for testimony. In fact the defense attorney and prosecutor ask them directly if any offer has been made to them for their testimony and the answer was no. Also, it was apparent that the testimony that the inmate gave was information that was not known to the public or part of any public record at the time he offered the information, which information was given right after the arrest. I guess one could call the Commonwealth and ask if they are allowed to give promises for testimony. I listened to the Judge and agree she is very sharp and can tell the difference between a credible witness and one not so credible. I'd take my chances with her on a bench trial over a jury any day. She gets the facts. Having said that - the CROWD of people who showed up to say what a wonderful choir boy this Mr. Woodson is - they were subpoened by the defense attorney and their testimony of his character is a little bias as well. Everyone was out for something

I have and will continue to read The Hook. However, until very recently I have never experienced your journalism or rather sensationalism first hand. My family has been a friend of Slade Woodson. That’s right the I-64 shooter. I was in the court room as well as your reporter. I heard the same words that he or she listened to that day. Yet it seems that the only impact on your reporter was from a convicted felon. ââ?¬Å?I quote I wanted to kill someone,” It was obvious to everyone he had not even a little credibility. He had maybe a good day out of jail? Yet, one version was Slade wanted to kill and later in his testimony Slade didn’t want to talk and would not talk, even though the ââ?¬Å?con” was very curious. I’m not trying to pardon Slade, but I have questions. Who shot where and when? It can’t be proved. Why is Brandon free when he had a part in it? Slade has 15 years? In court they ask every witness if Slade was released today would you welcome him in your home. Each and ever witness on Slade’s behalf said yes. Unfortunately, the hook only reported the partial testimony. Is Slade guilty for his part? Yes. Is The Hook guilty for being impartial? Yes.

quote: "I was in court for the sentencing and as I understand it - the attorneys for the commonwealth are prohibited from making any offers for reduction of sentence for testimony."

Mr/Mrs/Miss concerned, not true. If you read today's Daily Progress, you will indeed see where a commonwealth attorney offered two defendants reduced charges and sentences if they agreed to testify against a third defendant in the same crime. This foolishness takes place in courtrooms across the country on a daily basis. It's not unusual for defendants to gang up on and lie in an attempt to save their own bacon while burning a lone defendant in the process.

They should have gotten more time, look at the people lives they have destroyed, that poor little boy cant sleep alone he can be ruined for the rest of his life. May god be with him and he can get over this tragedy.

While I do not believe either young man involved in these shootings has or will fully pay for the fear they created that night, I have to say that I do not see how "explosive testimony" from a jailhouse witness can ever be considered reliable.

In the Daily Progress article dated Tuesday, July 7, 2009 - following article & under Reader Reactions - Chevy wrote: Was he asked from what store he was able to purchase the beer that night? That’s alot of the problem the ID is not being checked for young people like it should be. " I have spoken with my teenage children about this and been told that from Waynesboro to Charlottesville they can go to any one of a half dozen placed to buy beer - without a problem. If you check Woodson's records - on 2 occasions he was charged with "possession of alcohol". You would have thought the state/county would have restricted his license and/or tested him on a regular basis. - - Chevy also wrote: "One person gets 180 days the other person 15 years. There’s something wrong here somewhere. The paper said they both were shooting. The 16 year old had to know what he was doing. I can’t imagine what his parents thought he was doing all night long. To me the 16 year old should have been given more time than 180 days. That’s my opinion, everyone has one.

I put my comments in the Hook's": Community, Crime/Justice, Featured 07:05 pm June 23rd 2009 - not realizing there were 2 different blogs for the same article - in case you missed it Tina - here it is:
Sue - MikeM & Mike Wiszowski are correct about the 20 beers & high alcohol levels - and some people who are more prone to alcoholism through heredity can function when "going through the motions", like driving - but not making good judgment calls - - whatthafudge - I think he was stunned (not shocked) is not PROOF that he was not remorseful - on the contrary - if as he said he never meant to harm anyone - and was trying to prove himself with whatever means he had while in jail - instead of twiddling his thumbs and crying about it for 15 months - yeah the 15 years might be a shock - not a sign of not being remorseful. Vic C - I went onto the internet and checked his case files - he had documented issues with drinking and driving - I checked a little further - the Commonwealth sent him to a class and took his money 3 times - but never did any kind of follow-up like testing for alcohol on a regular basis - and in all cases - he had a high alcohol level. Virginia has wine trails and now beer trails and is not reaping what it is sowing when it comes to alcohol and its impact on our youth. George - I think you are right on. To take someone who has potential (is young and not a lost cause) lock him up for 15 years with career criminals, and then expect him to be "stronger for it" down the road is not serving the community. Lunsford said - according to this article - that "Woodson has a lot of support in the community. But it’s important for the community to see a substantial sentence and a deterrent.” So is it not going to be just as important to the community when he is released after 15 years in prison. Why not 5 years, and then pay to be tested on a regular basis for 5-10 years. And how about Community Service for 5 years. I don't know the cost of housing an inmate for 15 years, but my vote would be to have him serve 5-10, do community service, be tested and attend AA for 5-10, and know that any mess-ups would send him right back up the road. As for the inmate who testified against him, I heard he spent 10 minutes stumbling over his own testimony & admitted to pestering Woodson for days because he wanted to know what happened. And lastly the supposed plan: . . according to the inmate, . ââ?¬Å?They knew the juvenile wouldn’t do any time,” said Kurdziolek, . . ââ?¬Å?If they got caught, Dawson would say he did it.” It seems funny to me from an article I recall back when this all first hit the news, that when Woodson was arrested and asked "who was with you" he said "I was alone" and now the other boy is out and about. Sure doesn't sound like he blamed it all on the younger guy. I read a blog following the Daily Progress article that said: ââ?¬Å?Seems to me the system is one sided.” My personal take on this. A person’s life cannot be summed up in a 6-8 hour court hearing much less a few paragraphs of news print. The Psych Report given by Aaron was submitted because Woodson chose to offer the court all the truth - even his worst admissions to the doctor. He could have kept it to himself. Seems he wasn't trying to hide anything. Seems he knew he had a problem and was asking for help and understanding ââ?¬â?? along with his sentencing. Maybe he should have sought help earlier. Dont't most 19 year olds - like seasoned adults - admit they have a substance abuse problem and seek help? I think not!

Tina, in the most recent and most surprising Gallup poll to date, 51% of Americans favor no new gun control laws. The other 49% do want more gun control. The results of this poll certainly does not reflect the population in Charlottesville and Albemarle County very well. The vast majority of the population around here thinks guns are evil. Therefore, I feel Woodson was the sacrificial lamb served up to the public outcry. He was a drunken teenager doing very bad things with a GUN.

Andrew Alston, the UVA student who stabbed Albemarle firefighter Walker Sisk to death, was only given three years for voluntary manslaughter. Woodson received 5 times the sentence that Alston received. The difference.... the evil GUN!!!

You can't win much support or sympathy when debating any crime involving a gun in this area. I had an obvious rabid fox in my neighborhood last year. I could have put him down, with accuracy, but I would most likely still be fighting the system for discharging a firearm within city limits if I had. The evil GUN!!!