Ryan Frederick sentenced to 10 years for killing detective

By Louis Hansen | The Virginian-Pilot


During his months in jail, Ryan Frederick wrote and rewrote an apology to Jarrod Shivers’ family in his mind and on paper.

Hours before his Friday morning court sentencing, Frederick scribbled away again on a yellow notepad in his solitary cell until 2 a.m. “I did rough draft after rough draft,” he said. “Ball it up, throw it away. Ball it up, throw it away.”

It all boiled down to a simple expression: “I’m sorry.”

Later in a Chesapeake courtroom, Frederick faced the family of the detective he killed during a drug raid in January 2008. Dressed in a red prison jumpsuit, he softly read a one-minute, handwritten statement. He said he did not expect forgiveness.

“All I can do is apologize.”

Nicole Shivers, the detective’s widow, wore black and sat several feet away. She listened without visible emotion.

Circuit Court Judge Marjorie A.T. Arrington on Friday followed a jury’s recommendations and imposed the maximum: 10 years for voluntary manslaughter. Frederick, 29, must spend at least 8-1/2 years in jail, with credit for time already served.

He also faces three years of supervision after his release and must pay a $500 fine for possessing marijuana.

Outside the courthouse, members of the Shivers family said they accepted the judge’s decision to enforce the maximum punishment. Nicole Shivers said she has not forgiven Frederick but added, “I don’t have hate for him.”

Prosecutors and family members portrayed Shivers as a hard working family man whose death was a great blow to his community.

Shivers enlisted in the Navy after high school and worked as an aircraft handler and supervisor on the deck of the carrier Theodore Roosevelt. He started a family, and he left the Navy to spend more time at home. He joined the Chesapeake Police Department in 2000 and rose to the rank of detective.

During a raid on Jan. 17, 2008, Frederick shot Shivers as he entered his home in the city’s Portlock section.

Shivers, 34, left three children: Brittnie, Ashleigh and Landon.

Before leaving the courthouse with family and friends, Nicole Shivers said she’s still “trying to learn how to be a single parent.”

The highly charged trial included a special prosecutor, testimony from several jailhouse snitches, tearful family members, and a parade of police officers. A jury rejected a capital murder charge and found Frederick guilty of voluntary manslaughter in February.

Defense lawyers argued that Frederick shot in self-defense after he was awakened and thought burglars were breaking through his front door. His home had previously been burglarized.

Neither side was satisfied by the verdict.

On Friday, Jim Shivers, the detective’s father, said the family remains puzzled and disappointed by the jury’s decision. He did not think the verdict was fair, he said, “but it’s the one we got. It’s the one we’re going to live with.”

Shivers was pleased the judge handed out the maximum sentence.

Jack Bider, president of the Chesapeake chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police, also said the 10-year sentence seemed unfair punishment for the loss of a fellow officer.

Bider acknowledged that the jury had carefully weigh ed the evidence before reaching a decision. “Then that’s the verdict,” he shrugged.

The case is expected to continue in an appeals court. Defense attorney Eric Korslund argued that Frederick, who had no prior criminal record, should be retried on lesser charges. “We’re going to try to get a new trial for him,” he said.

From jail, Frederick said he accepted his punishment.

He repeated his apology. “It’s a tragedy all the way around. His folks are suffering. I’m doing time,” he said. “There’s no closure.”

Louis Hansen, (757) 222-5221, louis.hansen@pilotonline.com

‘The truth is out’

By Staff Reporter | The Tidewater News

COURTLAND—Now that a jury has found him innocent of a perjury charge, former Franklin police detective Edwin J. Delgado looks forward to the opportunity to resume his career in law enforcement.

“It’s been a long nine months,” he said outside the courtroom Friday morning, adding that he had been working as a collections agent and dipping into his retirement fund to make ends meet since he was indicted.

“I’m glad the jury noticed that I did nothing wrong, and I did not lie,” Delgado said following the verdict. “The truth is out.”

Franklin Police Chief Phil Hardison said following the jury’s verdict that it would be “inappropriate” to comment on the possibility of Delgado returning to the police force he had served for eight years before losing his job during the investigation.

Friday’s verdict concluded a frustrating chain of events that began with a traffic stop Delgado made in August 2007 and reached a low point in April 2008 with his indictment on a single perjury charge.

A Southampton County grand jury indicted him based on an investigation by the Virginia State Police into statements the detective made in a Franklin court when he was testifying against the reckless driving suspect.

As a detective, Delgado did not have radar in his city-issued Chevy Malibu, but he paced the suspect Aug. 29, 2007, doing 51 mph along Pretlow Street and issued him a reckless-driving summons.

Two days later, Delgado had his speedometer calibrated. In November, he presented the results of that test in court when a public defender asked for proof that a test had been done.

The judge then asked Delgado why he did not have a calibration report to show from prior to the arrest. He responded that he had the tests done regularly and that he had probably thrown the results away, according to courtroom testimony on Thursday.

A special prosecutor brought to Southampton to try the case presented evidence that raised some doubt about whether the detective had kept up with the Police Department’s policy of requiring calibrations every six months.

However there were also problems exposed with the department’s administrative and clerical procedures, since even the dates that a certain officer drove a certain car were unable to be verified. Also, there was little, if any, apparent oversight to ensure that officers were getting their calibrations done.

A jury of seven women and five men took less than half an hour on Friday to return a verdict of “not guilty” on the charge that Delgado had lied in court about whether he had gotten his speedometer calibrated.

Jurors had spent most of Thursday in Southampton Circuit Court hearing evidence in the case. Attorneys for both sides concluded their closing arguments at about 4:30 p.m. Thursday, and the judge recessed court, giving the jury the night to consider what had transpired that day.

Courtroom observers suggested that the extra time for reflection might have made the decision an easier, or at least quicker, one for jurors.

Whether the police department’s lax record-keeping played a part in the jury’s decision was unclear, but defense attorney Eric Korslund made the uncertainties those records raised a centerpiece of his closing argument.

“There’s a lot of gray (areas) here, with the fuzzy records,” he said. And, even if the jury decided to believe Delgado had not had his speedometer calibrated prior to making the reckless driving arrest, Korslund added, “He is not on trial for not having his vehicle calibrated.”

Franklin’s Chief Hardison said following Friday’s verdict that his department had learned some lessons from the case, especially regarding the administrative and clerical procedures related to calibrations.

“We changed those things, once we recognized the deficiencies, immediately,” he said.

In fact, Franklin District Court Clerk Brenda Nance, whose office keeps copies of the calibrations on file, testified that she has received 30 of the reports thus far in 2008, compared with only six in all of 2007.

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