Dudunia Could Face Deportation

By: Estephany Escobar Email
By: Estephany Escobar Email

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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) -- Givi Dudunia, 20, will serve 24 months in prison his role in the murder of Ben Graessle, a Spotswood High School graduate who died after being shot last December.

There was a somber tone in the courtroom on both sides.

Dudinia's mother seemed sad as her son did not say much to the judge.

Graessle's family also seemed nostalgic during the sentencing.

Dudunia will also pay $5,000 for accessory after the fact of a homicide and accessory to using a firearm, charges he pleaded guilty to in August.

Thursday, the judge asked him several times if he understood that this could impact his immigration status. Dudunia replied, "yes".

The Commonwealth's Attorney, Marsha Garst, said Dudunia pushed Graessle several times setting in motion the incident that led to Graessle's death.

Dudunia said he is not a U.S. citizen yet, but his lawyer said his client is here legally.

"Certainly is now my objective as Commonwealth's Attorney to assure that this criminal Givi Dudunia doesn't stay in the United States after his role of not only Mr. Chaplin, the murderer, but also hiding the murder weapon," said Garst.

She said the sentencing today brings some closure to the family, Garst said it would give them even more closure if Dudunia would be deported.

Dudunia's lawyer said his client plans to remain in the U.S.

Dudunia pleaded guilty as part of a plea agreement.

"The family agreed to these terms and this brings closure to the family and of course the Commonwealth is pleased with the outcome and believes it has brought justice to Ben Graessle," said Garst.

As the Graessle family left the courtroom, Mrs. Graessle hugged Garst as she closed one part of this tragedy.

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