Judge affirms Morva's death sentence
Today in a Christiansburg courtroom, Judge Ray Grubbs upheld a jury's recommendation that William Morva, the man who shot and killed a Montgomery County sheriff's deputy and another man, receive the death penalty. Morva had been in police custody awaiting trial for armed robbery when he was admitted to Montgomery County Regional Hospital for treatment of a broken ankle. He escaped by stealing an officer's sidearm, shooting hospital orderly Derrick McFarland, 32, in the hospital and former Albemarle County deputy Eric Sutphin, 40, along a walking trail near the Virginia Tech campus.
The manhunt shut down Virginia Tech on the first day of classes, a scene that later seemed eerily prophetic when a Tech student shot and killed 32 students and faculty less than eight months later on April 16, 2007.
Prior to his high-profile escape, Morva was well known to Virginia Tech students and to the Blacksburg community at large as a disturbing outspoken individual whose rants about moving to the woods and eating raw meat could often be heard by anyone who happened to be in the campus-area coffee shops he frequented. So notorious was Morva that some Tech students took to selling $5 t-shirts emblazoned with Morva's image and the words "William Morva is an Ass****".
For more on Morva, see the essay by Hook music editor Vijith Assar– who was a high school classmate of Morva's– which ran a few days after the April 16, 2007 shootings at Virginia Tech.
Morva is set to die October 21, though an automatic appeal which is now under way could delay the execution.
Editor's note: This post originally misstated the point in Vijith Assar's academic career when he met Morva. It has been corrected.