Lately, some folks have been running around like chickens with heads cut off, pointing to an appellate opinion in Virginia and claiming it means Lloyd Irvin is innocent. No, no, my friends, that is not correct.
Edited to add: the short version is, Gatling found someone who said the victim wasn't sure about identifying him, so he won a new trial-- however, he then pled guilty before the new trial got started. Also, no one else was acquitted, or won anything on appeal. Four men including Gatling did prison time for this gang rape.
The long version, for you curious people with time to kill....
That case, Gatling v. Commonwealth, 414 S.E.2d 862 (Va. App. 1992), stemmed from the conviction of one of Lloyd's codefendants (Terrence Gatling) in the 1989 gang rape.
The appellate opinion said several things.
-- the trial court erred in denying a motion by the defense attorneys after the trial was over
-- the trial court should have granted the motion for a new trial
-- therefore the appellate court was "reversing and remanding"-- i.e., they reversed the trial court's decision to deny the motion for a new trial, and they remanded the case (sent it back) to the trial court, to enable the State (the Commonwealth, in Virginia terminology) to re-try Gatling, should it choose to.
-- the trial court should have granted the motion because the defense attorneys followed the proper procedures for making the motion and used the proper timing for providing ("proffering") a summary of what they believed the evidence would show, if a new trial were granted. (The trial court denied their motion because it believed the attorneys should have presented that evidence during the actual trial, not afterwards.)
-- the "new" evidence the defense attorneys wanted to present was the testimony of the rape survivor's "big brother", named Neighbors, who attended the gang rape and stayed in the other room while it happened. According to the defense lawyers, he would have testified that he didn't hear any screaming or crying during the rape, and after, the survivor told him that, although she had been raped by several other men, she could not remember what Gatling had to do with it, and that Gatling never forced her to do anything.
What that court did not say:
-- that Gatling was innocent
-- that there was no rape
-- that Lloyd Irvin was not involved
-- that the survivor lied
-- that the survivor was not credible
I'm working on getting more information. Stay tuned.
EDITED TO ADD:
Prior to retrial, Gatling pled guilty to forcible sodomy (same charge as original conviction) on 12/7/1992, and was sentenced to seven years in the pen, of which 6 was suspended (probably to account for time served, plus to sweeten the deal and avoid the expense and hassle of a retrial.) Found here under case #CR89017916-01.
Fwiw, the two other codefendants were also tried by juries and were also convicted of rape and sodomy, sentenced to pen time, and appeals denied. A third was convicted of attempted rape and also sentenced to prison. At least one is a registered sex offender (working on confirming the other.)