Explosive words

By Hawes Spencer and Barbara Nordin

When the indictment was handed down last week by a Charlottesville grand jury in the 1996 murders of two women in Shenandoah National Park, a fearful period in Park history may have ended, and the families of Julie Williams and Lollie Winans may have found some small measure of relief. But for the families of other young women murdered in Central Virginia, the anguish of uncertainty continues. Still, clues from the court files of 34-year-old Darrell David Rice of Columbia, Maryland, reveal that even if he's not responsible for a wide range of crimes, he has, in his own words, occasionally "exploded."

In July, 1997, Rice admitted that he attacked a young woman who was riding her bike in the Park. The crime had no shortage of terror and anger. Besides allegedly trying to force the woman into his pickup truck after she refused to show her "titties" and then trying to run her over, Rice confessed to a frightening degree of pre-meditation.

He admitted removing his truck's license plates before he confronted the woman. And in the few minutes that elapsed before he was caught near a park exit, Rice had the wherewithal to reattach his plates and change his clothes.

But it's what Rice told investigators in two separate interviews on that July day in 1997 that probably made him– if not an official suspect– a prime candidate for questioning in this and several other grisly crimes against women, including the 1996 death of Alicia Showalter Reynolds. And while the State Police say it doesn't release names of suspects, they aren't ruling Rice out.


July 9, 1997– Nearly five years ago, Yvonne Malbasha was a single mother living in Canada with her young son. Taking a summer bicycling vacation with a friend, she had plans to ride along the Skyline Drive. The highly conditioned athlete, a veteran of many "iron man" triathlons, considered the winding ridge-top road through the Park an ideal course. Although the double murder one year earlier had been big news in Virginia, on the day of Malbasha's visit, July 9, 1997, she had never heard of Julie Williams, Lollie Winans– or Darrell Rice.

Rice had just been fired about a week and half earlier from his job making computer training materials for MCI Systemhouse, a training firm in Maryland. An avid mountain-biker, Rice had an annual pass to the National Park but was not on his bike that day: he was driving his blue pickup truck.

Rice later told investigators that he'd been coming to the Park since he was a child. He said he used to go camping with his father at Big Meadows and Lewis Mountain.

Malbasha and her friend had entered the Park at its northern tip with plans to cover the entire 105 miles from Front Royal to Afton and meet up later in the day. Pedaling south at different paces, the two cyclists had drifted apart, and Malbasha was alone.

According to the court file, from his Chevy S-10 pickup Rice had spotted Malbasha, considered her attractive, and had begun stalking the slim, long-haired blonde on the competition road bike.

"I was just attracted to her in a strange way," he said after his arrest. Rice later told investigators that he "wanted to mess with her, to ruin her day." He did.

Rice said he expected his victim to stay on the Skyline Drive. Instead, around milepost 57.5, she began heading down the Lewis Mountain Access Road.

According to the court file, it was there that Rice arrived and forced her off the road and off her bike. "The vehicle came so close I could actually feel the heat of the engine," she testified. She said Rice then threw a soda can at her, grabbed at her chest and screamed, "Show me your titties."

Malbasha testified that Rice tried to grab her and wrestle her into the truck. But she fought back. She threw her water bottle at him and used her bike as a blocking device. In the tussle, Malbasha said, she sustained a long abrasion along her back, photographs of which were introduced into evidence.

Malbasha testified that when Rice realized he couldn't get her into the truck, he jumped back in the vehicle and, enraged, tried four or five times to run over her. Malbasha escaped by taking cover behind a fallen tree. Rice, defeated, sped away.

"I have no doubt in my mind whatsoever," Malbasha testified at Rice's March 1999 sentencing, "that the intent of Mr. Rice was to sexually assault me and kill me."

"I drove aggressively towards her," Rice admitted. Investigators were shocked by what they found in Rice's truck– a detailed map of Culpeper County, several 15- to 18-inch cable ties, about 10 feet of nylon twine, and what court notes called "a tarp-like object large enough to conceal a person or body."

Most of those items have legitimate purposes for campers. But most campers don't try to run down cyclists. Of particular concern were the cable ties– slim, lockable nylon widely used by electricians to cinch bundles of wires together. They're also used by law enforcement as temporary handcuffs. It was their location in the map-pocket of the truck's driver's-side door that caught the interest of prosecutors.

Rice pleaded guilty to one count of attempted kidnapping. Judge Norman K. Moon handed down a sentence of 135 months, or just over 11 years, close to the maximum allowed by federal guidelines. "There's nothing mitigating about it at all," said Moon of the crime. "It's all as bad as it could possibly have been."

Rice is due for release from the medium-security Petersburg Federal Correctional Institute in 2007.


"a 50% chance of surviving" –

If the attack on Malbasha was pure horror, the few minutes that followed contained a stroke of "pure luck," she says. "A driver passed by and said, "Are you okay?' and I said, "No, I'm not.'"

The driver was a ranger who quickly used a mobile phone to send out an alert. Meanwhile, Rice, as he later admitted, changed his clothes and re-attached his Maryland license plates. He was heading south seven and a half miles from the Park's Swift Run Gap exit, at Route 33, a highway that offered multiple pathways and jurisdictions of escape.

Within sight of the exit, however, rangers nabbed Rice, and Malbasha soon arrived to identify him and his truck. Rangers testified that Rice was stopped within sight of the Swift Run exit.

"A minute or two later," says Malbasha, "and he would have been out of the Park."

Still living in Canada (although she asks reporters not to be more specific about the location), Malbasha says she continues to be an avid cycler– though "a more cautious one." She still takes bicycling vacations, but her riding life has changed. "I'll look over my shoulder if I perceive a car is not passing fast enough," she says. And she says she won't cycle alone in the U.S.

Ironically, the athletic Malbasha was unable to run from her attacker because of her bicycling cleats. Their thick metal forms designed to lock into her pedals made running– or even walking– "virtually impossible." So she had to deal with Rice. She credits her survival partly to her training as a paramedic, which emphasized calm in stressful situations, as well as an episode of America's Most Wanted she'd seen about a year earlier.

The show featured the case of a woman who disappeared without a trace, and an investigator gave the television audience some advice. "If someone does get you in a vehicle," Malbasha remembers him saying, "you will be killed. But if you put up a fight and stay out of the vehicle, you have a 50 percent chance of surviving."

A "late 30-something" whose son is now 17, Malbasha says she doesn't relish talking about her experience in Shenandoah Park. "It's just the right thing to do," she says. "My life has changed forever, but I've gone out of my way to avoid an attitude of "poor me.' My heart just goes out to the families of those two young women."


Those two young women – In the spring of 1996, Julianne "Julie" M. Williams and Laura S. "Lollie" Winans were looking forward to a week in the Shenandoah Park. Minnesotan Williams, who had graduated cum laude from prestigious Carleton College two years earlier, was living in Burlington, Vermont. Winans, from Michigan, was nearing the end of her college career in Maine.

As with many couples, their backgrounds were quite different. Williams, 24, came from a large extended family in St. Cloud and stood out as a high achiever long before she enrolled in Carleton College about 30 miles south of Minneapolis. Her resume is dizzying, in fact. In high school, she was class salutatorian and state Class A doubles tennis champion. At Carleton she was recognized as a scholar and scientist, garnering awards for academic excellence while earning a B.A. in geology. She was also an inveterate volunteer, advocate for social justice, and world traveler who conducted geo-archaeological research in Italy and Greece and worked as a community service volunteer in Spain, Colombia, and Mexico. Family and friends described her as "a one-person Peace Corps."

Winans, 26, was an only child from affluent Grosse Pointe, Michigan, whose parents had divorced when she was seven or eight. As gifted as Julie, she had used her energies to fight other kinds of battles. Barry Yeoman, writing in Out magazine, described Lollie as "a microbrew-drinking, Phish-following, cigarette-smoking, good-time girl whose entire adult life had been a struggle against childhood demons." Specifically, he learned that she had been "repeatedly sexually abused as a child by a trusted adult."

"Energy and humor followed her everywhere," Yeoman wrote, adding that she "valued friendship above all else, issuing good friend badges to those she loved."

After dropping out of Sterling College in Vermont, Lollie had gone through a time of experiment and upheaval– being engaged, then unengaged, to a man, and trying several jobs– before setting her sights on a concrete goal: finishing her degree. She moved to Waterville, Maine, in 1994 and enrolled in Unity College; her goal was to become a wilderness guide. An even larger goal was to someday lead expeditions for female sexual-abuse survivors.

That was what brought the two women together: their passion for the outdoors. The previous summer they'd met at Woodswomen Inc., an experiential education program based in Minnesota where, Yeoman wrote, "the two kicked off the season climbing rocks and canoeing around the Boundary Waters, and learning to run outings for women and children. They shared a tent with another woman and, that first night, "laughed the hours away, never realizing they were flirting."

But they were. And soon the two women felt they'd found a soulmate in one another. The process of coming out appears to have been about as complex for Lollie and Julie as it is for most people; however, they also appear to have been secure in the knowledge that this was a part of themselves that deserved expression and respect. Still, neither one was quite ready to come out to their families.

No: The time wasn't right for such a serious step; for now, they had other things to focus on. As they arrived at the park, a summer of adventure and delight stood poised to unfold. It was Sunday, May 19.


Final days in the park – The two women– along with Lollie's dog Taj, a Golden Retriever-Lab mix– had entered the park at Front Royal with plans to stay until May 27, Memorial Day. The last time they were conclusively spotted was May 24, when they climbed Hawksbill Mountain and hitched a ride with a park ranger.

Later, investigators would develop a roll of film they found at the campsite; it allowed them to chronicle the women's movements: Pinnacles Overlook, for starters, and Whiteoak Canyon Trail with its glorious waterfalls. Two days of rain idled them; when it cleared, they got a ride from a female park employee and then renewed their backcountry camping permit before resuming their trek. Finally, they hiked to the top of Hawksbill, where another hiker snapped them together, grinning into the camera.

The campsite they made that night was roughly one-tenth of a mile from Skyline Drive and only a half-mile from the always-busy Skyland Lodge. They were also within sight of a horse trail leading to a fire road. It seems ironic, at first blush, that they could have been so close to civilization and yet so horribly vulnerable. But choosing a campsite near a road or developed area is one of the things the Park Service later warned backcountry hikers not to do, probably because it exposes them, potentially, to such a large and varied population.

And Skyland draws exactly that. The main attraction is the lodge itself, which includes a vast, airy dining room with floor-to-ceiling windows on three sides looking out onto an exquisite view; an adjoining bar, called the Tap Room; and a souvenir shop. There are also cabins that can be rented. Especially in season, Skyland is thronged with tourists, day-trippers, Appalachian Trail through-hikers, and area residents who drive up expressly to eat at the lodge. At peak evening hours, the line for the dining room can be lengthy, and often the atmosphere is of an extremely busy hub.

To Julie and Lollie, however, their near-yet-remote campsite must have seemed idyllic. Later, Julie's parents would describe it at a press conference as "the perfect spot, quiet, secluded, out under the trees and close to a stream ... we know that she died in a place where she was enjoying herself, doing what she loved most."

Memorial Day, Monday, May 27, passed– as did the next two days, with no word from the women. On Thursday, May 30, a roommate in Burlington called Williams' parents in Minnesota, and park authorities were alerted.

After Taj was found wandering near Skyland Lodge on June 1, rangers quickly found the women's bodies at their campsite about a half-mile from Skyland and only a tenth of a mile east of the Skyline Drive.

An autopsy later estimated that they died around the 27th, though authorities cautioned that this was only an estimate. Other details were more certain. Their hands had been bound, and their throats had been cut.

"Whoever did this," FBI agent Bill Falls told America's Most Wanted, "certainly went down there with the intention to murder these people. It was so cold-blooded– it was a methodical killing. He knew what he was doing, and I would almost say he did it without any conscience or remorse and went about his way."


The scene of the crime – "My personal slant is that I don't think Darrell did it." So says his friend Rob Ruckert of Crofton, Maryland. But if Rice is eventually convicted of the double murder, he will have done the thing that serial murderers often do: return to the scene of the crime. According to Robert K. Ressler's book Sexual Homicide, returning to the scene and even participating in the investigation are hallmarks of serial killers.

During questioning in the attack on Malbasha, Rice admitted that he, Ruckert, and Ruckert's wife took a day-trip to the Park on Saturday, June 1, or Sunday, June 2– at the height of the frantic hunt for the women Rice now stands accused of killing. They chose Whiteoak Canyon, eerily close to the murder scene.

Like so many that weekend, Rice's group was pressed for information. "A female ranger asked us about seeing two females and a dog," Rice told investigators. The answer the trio gave could not be learned, as Rice can't receive calls in prison, and Ruckert cut short an interview and asked a reporter not to call back.

The Park Service would soon come under fire for waiting 36 hours– until Monday morning, June 3– to announce the murders. Yet when Rice and his friends went hiking, rangers could still honestly describe the women as "missing."

Then Park Service Director Roger Kennedy, who happened to be testifying before a Senate committee later that week, was questioned by Sen. Frank Murkowski (R-Alaska) about the delay.

"Why two days," Murkowski asked, "when other people in the park could have been subjected, theoretically, to the same danger?" Kennedy's response was that he was limited in what he could say, because the investigation was ongoing– but that the Park Service had notified the FBI within 40 minutes.

As for Rice, he seems to have taken enough interest in the case to get up to speed on the schedule of the killings by the time of his arrest in the park a year later.

"We went hiking like right in the middle of the search party," Rice said. "I think they were deceased by the time\0xC9 we were passed by the ranger," he added.

The bodies weren't found until 8pm on Sunday, June 1.


The gay factor – Those who insisted that the murders could have been sparked by hatred of lesbians pointed to a grisly precedent. In 1988, Claudia Brenner and Rebecca Wight, who were enrolled in graduate programs at Virginia Tech, were stalked by Stephen Roy Carr while camping near the Appalachian Trail in Pennsylvania. Shaken by their first encounter with him, they broke camp and went in search of a more private site. However, he followed the women and, when he saw them kissing on the trail, opened fire with a .22-caliber rifle.

Wight was hit by three bullets, Brenner by five. Incredibly, Brenner was able to hike four miles and get help. By then, however, Wight had bled to death. Carr– who received a life sentence with no parole– later explained to the police that he hated to see women kiss.

Almost immediately after the killings of Williams and Winans, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force asked the Department of Justice to investigate the case as a hate crime. Then Attorney General Janet Reno, speaking to a homosexual rights group in Roanoke the following month, stated that it would be studied from all possible angles. However, almost certainly, bias in this case could be demonstrated only if the murderer admitted that the women's relationship had triggered his homicidal rage.

According to the indictment, Rice has said he "hates gays" and that Williams and Winans "deserved to die because they were lesbian whores."

The government hasn't provided details about Rice's alleged anti-gay statements, and Rice's friend Ruckert denies that Rice is anti-gay or anti-woman. Ruckert, for instance, is married to a former girlfriend of Rice's.

"I don't know where this homophobic thing is coming from," says Ruckert, "since I never heard those words from his mouth."

However, some other words from Rice's mouth provide startling clues about his mind. In a wide-ranging interview taped on the night of the attack on Malbasha, Rice told investigators at the Charlottesville FBI office that he was tired of people picking on him. "I've handled it pretty well at times," he said, "but I've also exploded."

He told investigators he prefers confronting females because they are "more vulnerable" than men.

Investigators asked Rice if he was curious about the murders of Williams and Winans a year earlier.

"Oh, yeah," answered Rice. "All I heard was that... they were lesbians."

Investigators kept pressing. Why, they asked, would someone kill those women?

"Well," replied Rice, "as soon as you hear that they may be more than friends..."

If that didn't startle investigators, Rice's next answer, about what the murderer might have been thinking, probably did.

"He could be thinking the same thing I'm thinking about, like people at work... nagging on me."

Testifying at his sentencing hearing, Rice's mother, Lenna Mays, said her son felt hassled at work. "They were talking behind his back and treating him badly. He said it made him feel very, very small and very hurt."

Rice told investigators that he often felt like people were "behind me, like manipulating me– I think it was some young Republicans."

In the same July 9 interview, Rice volunteered stories of his penchant for angry outbursts. For instance, he said that a week earlier he had thrown a rock through a car's windshield in the parking area of Stony Man Nature Trail.

And that's not all he volunteered. Once, he said, he encountered a female jogger while riding his mountain bike. By Rice's own account, the woman had done nothing to antagonize him when he approached her on an Annapolis street about two years before his kidnapping arrest.

"I just told her, basically, go home and eat your children's shit," he said.


The Alicia Showalter Reynolds case – If there was ever a crime that rocked Central Virginia, it would have to be the disappearance and murder of Alicia Showalter Reynolds. "Not a week has gone by without calls coming in," says state police spokesperson Lucy Caldwell of the now six-year-old unsolved case.

A recently married Ph.D. candidate at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Reynolds grew up in Harrisonburg, where her parents still live. She left her Baltimore home the morning of March 2, 1996 planning to meet her mother to buy wedding presents for her twin brother at Charlottesville's Fashion Square Mall. She never arrived.

Multiple witnesses saw her stopped along Route 29, two miles south of Culpeper, with a dark pickup truck parked behind her, according to police. Reynolds was last seen with a man peering under her upraised hood and then getting into the man's truck.

A credit card belonging to Reynolds was found on a Culpeper street, and her parka was found in Madison. Her white 1993 Mercury Tracer was found, fully functioning, right where she'd last been seen on Route 29.

After Reynolds disappeared, police received a barrage of reports of incidents along Route 29 between Warrenton and Culpeper that revealed the killer's novel ruse. Over 20 women described nearly identical incidents in which a man driving a black or dark blue pickup flashed his lights, flagged them down, and claimed that sparks were coming from beneath their cars. Several of the women accepted rides from the man, and most were dropped off without incident. The exceptions were a woman who suffered a broken leg when she was thrown from the truck after resisting his attack with a screwdriver– and Alicia Reynolds.

On May 7, 1996, a man working nearby noticed buzzards flying overhead and found Reynolds' body along a gravel road near the tiny town of Lignum. The desolate land, between Culpeper and Fredericksburg, was a clear-cut forest owned by a paper company.

"It's so secluded," nearby resident Ron Lee told the Washington Post the day of the discovery. "This is a dead-end road. It seems like someone had to know about it."

Northern Virginia's Journal newspapers echoed that sentiment: "One aspect of the case that puzzles police is how the killer could have known Culpeper so well without Culpeper knowing him. If the killer was a lifelong resident, police speculate, they probably would have caught him quickly."

Serial killers, like all criminals, operate in familiar places– not just near their own homes. Case files are littered with people who kill where they have a job or a relative, and Rice himself admitted that he attacked Malbasha near a place he used to camp with his father. Authorities can't have missed the fact that Rice's father was living in Culpeper at the time of the Reynolds murder.

While none of the women recorded a license plate number, they gave investigators plenty of information about what the strange "flagger" looked like and how he acted. Several woman who declined his entreaties to pull over noted that the man would fly into a rage at their denial, including beating on his steering wheel, according to media accounts at the time.

And then there are at least three artists' renderings of the suspect showing a white male with a reddish-brown hair, a receding hairline, and a thin upper lip. Late in 1996, with help from FBI behavioral experts, State Police released a portion of a psychological profile of the man people were calling "the Route 29 stalker."

According to the profile, the man, playing out a sexual fantasy, hunts for small, brunette, white women in their twenties– like Alicia Reynolds. "This guy has got his victimology down," police special agent Larry McCann told a Journal reporter. "He knows what he wants and he goes for it."

The Journal said the man usually "internalizes" his anger but may occasionally burst out with "flashes of anger, often inappropriate to the situation."

"I really don't think he meant to kill her," McCann told the Washington Post. "He was playing out a fantasy of sexual assault that went bad. Now she's dead\0xC9. Once the lion tastes blood, he likes the taste. He will kill again."

Indeed, Seattle authorities announced on Monday, April 15, that they plan to seek the death penalty for Gary Leon Ridgway, the suspected "Green River killer," who is believed to have killed 49 women over 20 years.

After Reynolds disappeared, new reports of men flashing their lights at women slowed. But killings did not.

The Park murders happened sometime in late May, 1996. In September, slim, dark-haired, 16-year-old Sophia Silva was abducted from the front porch of her home in Spotsylvania County; she was found dead in King George County. The following spring, on May 1, 1997, sisters, Kristin, 15, and Kati Lisk, 12, their parents' only children, were abducted from their Spotsylvania home after school. Also slim and dark-haired, they were found dead near Route 3 in nearby Hanover County five days later. And then the killings stopped.

Authorities have never publicly announced a connection between the Shenandoah Park killings and the Reynolds murder. And while they believe the same man killed the Lisk sisters and Sophia Silva, they've never publicly tied those cases to the others or claimed to have a DNA connection between them. (An alleged fiber connection led to an arrest in the cases in 1997, but it turned out to be botched work at the state crime lab, and the man was released with an apology.)

"We've never discussed what type of forensic evidence we have," says Spotsylvania Sheriff's Major Howard Smith, who chairs the Lisk-Silva Task Force. Smith tells The Hook that while Rice is not a suspect in the Spotsylvania murders, he hasn't been ruled out.


Defenses for the suspect – Authorities have never revealed how the perpetrator bound the hands of the murdered hikers, but if it was with "cable ties," that could explain why they took a dim view of finding such devices in Rice's truck door when he was arrested minutes after attacking Malbasha.

Charlottesville attorney Lloyd Snook, who represented Rice in the Malbasha attack, points out that cable ties can be purchased locally at Lowe's, Circuit City, and other stores. He explains that Rice's truck had been in an accident, and that when Rice and a relative tried to attach a new cab to the chassis, not all the screw holes lined up perfectly. So cable ties were used to fasten down certain parts and provide additional stability.

As for the fact that Rice's truck was carrying two different vehicle identification numbers, Snook says that also has an innocent explanation: the new cab on the chassis.

Although conceding that Central Virginia's string of unsolved killings of slim brunettes ended around the time Rice went to jail, Snook mentions that the killer could have moved away. "It's very easy to speculate and draw connections," he cautions.

Snook further points out that the Route 29 stalker could still be out there. While riding in a school bus up Route 29 to Washington on a field trip, one of his own kids recently had the misfortune of spotting a naked man driving along and masturbating, Snook says.

And Rice claimed he usually got along with women. "Most people I work with are women," he volunteered. "I had a lady boss. I've always had healthy relationships with girls."


July '97 – "I'm not trying to sound like a sickie or anything," said Rice. "I'm just a lonely person."

On the night of his arrest, Rice said he'd had some tough times. He'd been busted for pot dealing, and in his years of going to Grateful Dead concerts, he said, he was a user of LSD and nitrous oxide.

And although he hypothesized that he might be schizophrenic and mentioned something about hearing "voices," he insisted they were actual voices of people harassing him– not the imaginary voices schizophrenics often claim to hear in their heads.

Killers, especially serial killers, often demonstrate narcissism, an inability to understand the feelings of others, and passivity.

Investigators asked Rice if he gets into fights. "No," he responded. "I'm a chicken."

Questioned about why he attacked Malbasha, Rice alluded to a "bad move" on her part, and investigators pressed for specifics.

"Um," Rice responded, "her attitude."

"Her attitude?" asked an investigator.

"Yeah," answered Rice, "being disrespectful."

Asked what she might have done that could be construed as disrespectful, Malbasha acknowledged that, after being hit by a soda can and forced from the road, she had yelled "Hey!" in outrage and screamed for help.

"I was non-compliant, and I assume that's what he meant by disrespectful," she says.


Today – Rice's indictment last week was big national news. On April 10, Attorney General John Ashcroft personally made the announcement that the government intends to seek the death penalty under a previously unused 1994 law mandating harsher penalties for "hate crimes."

"Today's murder indictment makes clear our commitment to seek every prosecutorial advantage and to use every available statute to secure justice," said Ashcroft at the press conference at Justice Department headquarters.

Parents of victim Julianne Williams got a tour of the Justice Department and met with Ashcroft earlier that day. Thomas Williams says he and Julie's mother, Patsy, are thankful for the indictment.

"It doesn't bring us any closure," says Williams, "but it's an important step."

Williams says that he and his wife focus less on watching the case than on celebrating the lives of Julie and Lollie. In particular, they have set up the Julianne Williams Foundation for Social Justice at their daughter's high school. "The days do get easier," says Williams. "You don't cry every hour."

Harley Showalter is a Harrisonburg insurance executive. He's also the parent of a murdered child: Alicia Showalter Reynolds. Since the Rice indictment, he's been contacted by numerous reporters wanting to know if he's noticed the resemblance between Rice and police sketches of his daughter's killer.

"I just don't want to rush to judgment," says Showalter. "I want to give the State Police time to do their jobs. We'd like a progress report, but we worry it might do more harm than good."

A lawyer for Rice has not yet been appointed, and no trial date has been set; but Snook, a veteran of several capital murder cases, expects the trial will happen next year at the federal courthouse in Charlottesville. "If they want me," says Snook, "I'll do it."

Meanwhile, according to a Washington Post story crediting no less than nine journalists last Sunday, April 14, family and friends say that while Rice is troubled, he's no murderer.

His father, Leon, 65, now retired to Satellite Beach, Florida, says his son had healthy relationships with women and wouldn't talk trash about gays. "That's not Darrell," the elder Rice was quoted. "He couldn't have said those things."

Portions of this story originally appeared in 1998 in c-ville.