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UVA backtracks on release of state AG’s external review of Nov. 13 shootings

Chris Graham
uva nov 13 graphic
(Background photo © David Matthew Lyons – stock.adobe.com/Player images courtesy UVA Athletics website)

The University of Virginia is delaying the release of the final report of the external review of the Nov. 13, 2022, shooting on Grounds that killed three UVA football players and injured two other students.

The review was led by Attorney General Jason Miyares, who issued the final report of his office’s review to university officials on Oct. 20.

At that time, UVA spokesman Brian Coy told AFP in a statement that the school was “reviewing the report to ensure factual accuracy, as well as the report’s recommendations,” and was planning to discuss the recommendations with the University of Virginia Board of Visitors “and with those who were most directly affected by this terrible tragedy, including the families of the students who were killed on Nov. 13, 2022.”

“Following these steps, the University will share the report publicly, with a goal of doing so by early November,” Coy said in his Oct. 20 statement.

We’re in the second half of November, and now the tune has changed.

“After conferring with counselors and Albemarle County Commonwealth’s Attorney Jim Hingeley, we have decided that we need to wait until after the criminal proceedings to release further information,” UVA President Jim Ryan said Friday in a statement released by the school.

“Making the report public at this time, or even releasing a summary of their findings and recommendations, could have an impact on the criminal trial of the accused, either by disrupting the case being prepared by the Albemarle County Commonwealth’s Attorney, or by interfering with the defendant’s right to a fair trial before an impartial jury,” Ryan said.

Board of Visitors Rector Robert Hardie said in a statement that the Board agrees with the decision to postpone the public release of the external review.

“This delay does not mean we are standing still. The University has taken many steps since Nov. 13, 2022, to support the healing of this community and to make sure our policies, practices, and procedures are aligned with our goal of keeping our Grounds safe,” Hardie said.

Hingeley is leading the prosecution of former UVA student Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., who faces 13 indictments for the shooting that took the lives of UVA student-athletes Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis Jr. and D’Sean Perry.

All were members of the Virginia football team and were on a bus that had returned to UVA from a class field trip to Washington.

Fellow UVA students Marlee Morgan and Mike Hollins, another member of the football team, were injured in the shooting.

“I am grateful to President Ryan, Rector Hardie, and their teams for their consideration as we continue to prosecute this important case,” Hingeley said. “The reports in question are subject to attorney-client privilege between the University and the attorney general, and I have not seen them. With that being said, I appreciate the University’s efforts to avoid taking any action that could complicate the prosecution of the accused, Christopher Jones, or impair his right to a fair and impartial trial.”

UVA requested the external review four days after the shootings, asking Miyares to appoint outside counsel to conduct an independent review of the University’s response to the shooting, the efforts to assess the potential threat the shooter posed, and University safety policies and procedures.

Miyares appointed national law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP as special counsel to review the events that led to the tragedy. Miyares also appointed former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Zachary Terwilliger to review federal, state, and local law enforcement issues surrounding the incident.

“The deaths of Devin Chandler, D’Sean Perry, and Lavel Davis Jr. are a tremendous tragedy and we continue to remember them, their families, and what they meant to the UVA community,” Miyares said in an Oct. 20 statement to the news media. “My office, thanks to the work of the special counsels, has procured a thorough report of last fall’s tragic events, and I am thankful for their deliberate efforts.”

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].