Police in Virginia not required to release many records

On Sunday, the Bristol Herald Courier ran a story about Roger Coleman. Thirty-seven years ago, he raped and murdered his 19-year-old sister-in-law in Grundy, Virginia. He was found guilty, sentenced to death and executed.

Our story included court documents; a video of one of the prosecutors; a podcast with a survivor of Coleman and a former Herald Courier reporter who witnessed the execution; a letter Coleman penned from jail; data on executions in Virginia; and more.

One thing it didn’t include was the criminal investigation of Coleman that followed the murder.

Local officers were assisted by Virginia State Police in their investigation. The murder took place almost four decades ago. Coleman has been dead for more than 25 years. Yet the Virginia State Police would not release the investigative file to the Herald Courier. Read more…