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Jury rules for Stafford County deputy in fatal shooting case
BY SCOTT SHENK
In a second civil trial, a jury has ruled in favor of a Stafford sheriff’s deputy accused of using excessive force in the 2008 shooting death of a Stafford man.
Jeff Rosen, the attorney representing Stafford 1st Sgt. Neal Robey, said in an email that the jury returned the verdict for his client on Friday.
On Thursday, according to court records, the jury apparently had reached a verdict, but while jurors were being polled it was found that the verdict was not unanimous. The jury then had to continue deliberating.
The three-day trial played out in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, the same place the original lawsuit was tried.
The suit was filed by Terry Gandy, whose husband David Gandy was shot and killed by Robey in June 2008.
The suit originally named Robey; Deputy Joseph Pittman, who was one of the deputies at the scene; Sheriff Charles Jett; and the commonwealth of Virginia as defendants.
The appeal involved only Robey.
The first trial was held in August 2011, during which the jury cleared Pittman of wrongdoing.
The ruling on Robey, however, was complicated.
The jury cleared the deputy of negligence, but also found that he used excessive force and awarded $267,000 to Terry Gandy in the wrongful death case.
Judge Leonie Brinkema set aside the verdict and award because the jury found that Robey had reason to fear for his life when he shot and killed David Gandy.
Terry Gandy appealed the verdict and in April the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals granted a new trial.
The shooting happened on the night of June 29, 2008.
At about 11 that night, Matthew Gandy called 911 and told dispatchers that his father had been drinking, had a gun and had threatened suicide, according to court records. He also said that David Gandy threatened to shoot himself if deputies came to the home at 14 Myrtle Road in the Hickory Ridge subdivision.
Details of what happened when the four deputies arrived remain sketchy because of differing stories since the incident.
The deputies have said they told Gandy to drop the gun, which a neighbor had given him, and remain still. The Stafford man ran toward a basement door and was hit with two Tazers, which did not stop him.
The deputies have testified that Gandy pointed a gun at them as he reached for the basement door knob. At that point, he was shot three times by Robey. Two bullets hit Gandy in the back and one in his front side under the left armpit.
Gandy’s family and attorneys have since said the man was no threat and that he didn’t have a gun in his hand.
The deputies said they found the gun under Gandy, who had fallen into his basement. He bled profusely, but there was no blood found on the gun.
Terry Gandy and her attorney, Peter Grenier, could not be reached for comment.
Sheriff Charles Jett has declined to comment on the case.
Scott Shenk: 540/374-5436