Saturday, July 22, 2000

Shooting suspect had been watched

Man accused in DiGiuro death was drug investigation target

The Associated Press

        LEXINGTON — The man accused of killing former University of Kentucky football player Trent DiGiuro has been a target of federal drug investigators for months, according to an affidavit filed in U.S. District Court.

        Shane Ragland, 27, was arrested July 14 and charged with murder in Mr. DiGiuro's shooting death in 1994. Authorities said on Wednesday that ballistics tests show that a rifle found in Mr. Ragland's bedroom could have been the one used in the incident.

        The affidavit, released on Thursday, was used to obtain search warrants of homes owned by Mr. Ragland's parents.

        According to the four-page document, the same girlfriend who told police that Mr. Ragland had admitted to her that he killed Mr. DiGiuro also told police that Mr. Ragland has been growing and selling marijuana for the past six years.

        The woman, who is identified in court documents by the initials “A.L.,” is referred to in the affidavit only as a “cooperating witness.”

        Mr. Ragland is the son of a Frankfort businessman who is a financial contributor to Gov. Paul Patton. The woman told police that Mr. Ragland grew marijuana on a remote part of his father's property and at a house in Lexington where he was living at the time of Mr. DiGiuro's murder, the affidavit said.

        Police think Mr. Ragland killed Mr. DiGiuro because he blamed the football player for getting him kicked out of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, which he was pledging.

        The affidavit said police had Mr. Ragland under surveillance for months — going so far as to collect garbage from the curb in front of the homes of his parents to find evidence of drug use by Mr. Ragland, who has a history of drug and alcohol-related arrests.

        The affidavit said police found a piece of paper in the garbage outside his father's home on May 3 that had a list of names and telephone and pager numbers — at least four of which were those of known drug dealers.

        The FBI obtained search warrants from U.S. Magistrate Judge James B. Todd last Friday and then served them, accompanied by Lexington and Kentucky State police, at the homes of Mr. Ragland's parents in Frankfort that afternoon.

        After the searches, in which police recovered a rifle that they say may have been used to kill Mr. DiGiuro, Mr. Ragland was charged with murder. He is in the Lexington-Fayette County Correctional Center with a cash bond set at $1 million.

        No drug charges have been filed against Mr. Ragland. Authorities said the drug investigation is continuing.


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