Murder Trial Delayed After Sheriff’s Office Data Dump

The trial of the man charged with murder in the disappearance and presumed death of an Ashburn woman in 2011 will be delayed again. 

Ronald Roldan was indicted on a charge of second-degree murder in December 2020 and was scheduled for a 25-day jury trial starting Feb. 22. He is charged with killing his girlfriend Bethany Anne Decker, who was five months pregnant and in her final semester at George Mason University when she was reported missing in 2011. 

Roldan was identified as a person of interest in the case but was not charged until 2020 when he was set for released from a North Carolina prison where he served a six-year sentence for the attempted murder of another girlfriend. 

The trial was originally scheduled to begin last August, but was rescheduled for Feb. 14 and then for Feb. 22.

With attorneys in the case in Circuit Court on Thursday for a scheduled hearing on pre-trial motions, Judge Douglas L. Fleming Jr. granted an emergency motion for another continuance. 

The delay was sought by Roldan’s attorneys who reported receiving a new tranche of discovery material from prosecutors a week earlier. The information included 1.3 terabytes of data and some 60,000 files, many of which the attorneys’ IT staff had been unable to open. Among the identifiable files, they said, were more than 100 pages of newly revealed search warrant filings and witness interviews conducted in 2011 and 2014. With only weeks to go before the trial, it would be impossible to review the potential evidence and prepare the case, they said. 

Chief Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Shaniqua Clark Nelson agreed. 

She said it was not county prosecutors who were responsible for the last-minute data dump. She said the material had just been turned over from the Sheriff’s Office on Jan. 14 and copies immediately were made for the defense team. Prosecutors had not been sitting on the information, she told Fleming, but have done everything possible to turn over required information in a timely fashion. 

While acknowledging the difficultly involved with rescheduling the roster of witnesses planned for the month-long trail, Fleming said the need for a continuance was clear. The parties were instructed to report back Feb. 24 with a status report and to work together on identifying new trial dates.

One thought on “Murder Trial Delayed After Sheriff’s Office Data Dump

  • 2022-01-22 at 12:40 pm
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    The “data dump” the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office (CWA) and the Public Defender’s Office (PD) is referring to, is a slimy and unethical tactic used to overwhelm the opposition and mire them down just before a trial. In this case, both the the CWA and PD were the victims of this tactic, which was employed by Sheriff Mike Chapman. Chapman has a standing order that his deputies and detectives are to refrain from cooperating with the CWA’s office in pretty much all matters (and especially concerning the fatality involving the football player). He also ordered his court deputies to keep tallies on how many cases the CWA wins, loses, or plead out. Sheriff Chapman wants to damage the reputation of the CWA’s office so badly, that he will jeapordize criminal cases to do so. Just for perspective, when Jim Plowman was starting his reelection campaign, fellow republican Mike Chapman reached out to Buta Biberaj to assist in her campaign; passing along unflattering rumors and stories to malign Plowman’s reputation and character (a common tactic of Chapman). Once he got rid of Plowman, whom he had ongoing battles with, he set his sights on Buta. This is a tactic he employs again and again. Take a look at pictures of his “Command Staff” when he first was elected. He told them anything they wanted to hear in an effort to elicit their support during his campaign. Once he did not need them, he turned on them.They are all gone, replaced with flunkies who share common traits – they are amoral cowards who will do anything to stay in Chapman’s good graces, to include illegal and unethical acts on his behalf.

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