Case not closed: Special prosecutor named in Crozet murders

New allegations and a pending a clemency petition have prompted the naming of a special prosecutor in the case of Robert Davis, currently jailed for a 2003 double murder in Crozet that he (as well as one of those convicted in the homicides) is saying that he didn't commit.

Davis, 27, has been imprisoned since a couple of days after that horrific night in February 2003 when Nola Annette Charles, who was beaten and stabbed to death, and her toddler son, Thomas, died of smoke inhalation in the fire set to cover up the crime.

Davis' attorney, Steve Rosenfield, maintains that police coerced the then 18-year-old Davis into making a false confession after a five-hour, middle-of-the-night interrogation in which the Western Albemarle High School student said dozens of times that he wasn't involved.

Davis had been implicated by two Cling Lane neighborhood siblings, 19-year-old Rocky and 15-year-old Jessica Fugett, both of whom were convicted and currently are in state prison serving 75- and 100-year sentences, respectively. Jessica Fugett has admitted knifing Charles.

In 2004, Davis entered an Alford plea, which recognizes the prosecution has enough evidence to convict but the defendant does not admit guilt. He was sentenced to 23 years in prison.

In 2006, Rocky Fugett contacted Rosenfield and recanted his previous statements that Davis was involved in the killings and torching of the murder house on Cling Lane. He's subsequently sworn an affidavit to that effect.

In April, Fugett, 27, met with reporters from the Hook and Daily Progress at Sussex II State Prison, and said Robert Davis had nothing to do with the stabbing of Nola Charles. He added that another teen who had never been charged was involved the night he and his sister were in the Charles house.

Albemarle Commonwealth's Attorney Denise Lunsford requested a special prosecutor in Davis' upcoming clemency petition because she represented him at a private attorney during his criminal proceedings.

Judge Cheryl Higgins signed the order July 7 naming Fluvanna Commonwealth's Attorney Jeff Haislip special prosecutor.

"I would be in place if new evidence turns up in the petition for clemency," says Haislip, who just received the order Friday, July 8. "Any allegations of new evidence we'll be looking into."

Defense attorney Rosenfield has not completed the clemency petition, which goes to Governor Bob McDonnell. Executive clemency is rare in Virginia, and McDonnell has not weighed in on one during his term in office. His decision will determine whether Davis gets out of prison.

"I have confidence in Jeff Haislip," says Rosenfield. "He'll do a conscientious job."

The original story was redacted August 25, 2013, removing information identifying the person Rocky Fugett alleged was involved in the murder of Ann Charles.

This story is a part of the The recantation of Robert Davis special.


After reading the June 8 cover story, linked above, I couldn't be more convinced of this man's innocence. This is a case of what is all to frequent - coerced testimony, and I plan to write the Governor and plead for Davis's release.

Whatever. Take your medicine son. Shame on your attorney, Rosenfield, for not taking care of this then,

Always someone else.

Doesn't sound like a confession he didn't admit guilt just signed an opinion that there was sufficient evidence to convict him . Big question then and now is what was the evidence ? Was there a trial or just a rush railroading ? If he didn't commit the crime the evidence would not stand up . What about the appeal process ? Lots of pieces missing here .

Ok i see the detailed story now ....

So often innocent people go to prison while the guilty are free. This is sad.

After the decision was made last week to let psychopath Casey Anthony walk free, there's been so much glowing talk about our justice system being the best in the world. You've got to be kidding me, right? This is as good as it gets? It is so messed up with narcissistic, wicked, controlling people driving it, it's unreal. They're all dishonest and conniving. I have no respect for the system AT ALL. Robert Davis is innocent and should be free, while Casey is guilty and should remain behind bars!

Well as i have said before, our justice system works well and a murderer is behind bars where he needs to be. The fourth person did get by with murder and that is another young man who was involved and Scott Goodman gave him walking papers. But god will give him his day of judgement. Two girls were left without a mother and had a father that was just not father material. Now with all this back in the news its bring hardship on the family all over again. You are only hearing one side of the story and a whole lot of lies. Look at the evidence and i will admit Jessica has told the truth all along her story has not changed. Thank you Jessica for the real truth on that side of the story.