Day 2: Dallas Chaplin Trial Continues
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Dallas Chaplin Murder Trial Begins
HARRISONBURG,Va. (WHSV) -- Today was the first of a five day murder trial of Dallas Chaplin.
Chaplin is accused of 1st degree murder in the death of Benjamin Graessle at the Commons apartment complex.
A pool of 54 people were called into the court room in order to select a jury of 14 jurors. Judge Thomas Wilson said they had to get 26 people to make sure they would have 14 jurors for the trial.
The jury is half men, half women; some may have seen media coverage or heard about the case prior to walking in the court room, and some are parents.
During opening statements, Commonwealth's Attorney Marsha Garst painted a picture of a night of partying gone wrong. She says Chaplin willfully, deliberately and pre-meditated the murder of Graessle on December 23, 2012.
She states throughout the trial, the jury will hear from several people who were at the party, and inmates who heard Chaplin talk about the murder.
Garst also discussed Chaplin's possible link to the gang the VA Stickup's. The defense's opening statements says they will prove Chaplin is not guilty of 1st degree murder.
One of the first people to testify in the courtroom, was Graessle's mother, and a man who was at one point with Chaplin the night of the murder. At the time of the incident the person was underage. He stated he saw an altercation between Givi Dudinia and Graessle in the parking lot of the complex.
He states Graessle was yelling at people to leave the apartment, and throwing punches at Dudinia. He says he then saw Chaplin walk over and shoot Graessle three times.
The person than says he got in Dudinia's car and drove to McDonalds, and then to Food Lion, where they picked up Chaplin.
At some point during the car ride, the person says Chaplin got a phone call and appeared surprised to hear Graessle died.
They returned to Dudinia's home in Staunton. Other witnesses called to the stand today included people at the party, who did not know Chaplin.
There is a list of 76 possible witnesses who could be called during the trial. One of the witnesses could possibly be Givi Dudinia's mother.
No word if Dallas Chaplin will testify. Both the Chaplin and Graessle family were inside the courtroom.
HARRISONBURG,Va. (WHSV) -- JMU faculty thought about the links between student's ability to drink heavily and frequently while also facing the academic challenges students face in their courses and decided on a plan to moderate the partying.
JMU sophomore Justin Dore takes school seriously, but also likes his social life.
"We do all this work during the week, the weekends are our time to relax and have a great time with our friends," said Dore.
Carol Hurney is a biology professor and Director of the Center for Faculty Innovation. After long discussions, the faculty decided to try something new.
"Allow students the opportunity to have decisions to make. If they don't have a decision to make, then some of the other ones are easier to make.
So I think what we're trying to do is to integrate more opportunities for students to make academic decisions," said Hurney. So faculty intentionally plan assignments around times when students will be likely to engage in poor behavior.
"I think they tend to coincide with times when we know students are going to gather for big events," said Hurney.
Hurney said the intention was not to overwhelm students or take away from social activities, but Dore is learning to make better decisions.
"I'd still go out if it was Halloween, I would either get the paper done right away or do it on Sunday," said Dore. The best way to do this was to shy away from the traditional midterm and final exam. "Try to spread work throughout the aced mic year, hoping that it would have a variety of impacts, most notably that we'd have better learning," said Hurney.
Dore noticed this is a common theme in his classes.
"Originally when I heard about college it was midterm and final, but now there's like 3 tests and quizzes between the tests," said Dore.
All the assignments won't stop him from having a good time, but it will force him to make good decisions.
"I know that sometimes if I have something really big and important I'll take it easy one night in particular just so I can get my work done," said Dore.