Man granted new trial in 1987 murder walks free on bond

NEWPORT, Ky. (AP) — William “Ricky” Virgil is free on bond after more than 28 years in prison for a murder he says he did not commit.

The 63-year-old told The Kentucky Enquirer ( he felt like being “beamed up” as he walked out of the Campbell County jail on Thursday.

The Cincinnati man was charged in 1987 with the murder of Retha Welch, a Veterans Administration minister and nurse from Newport.

Virgil refused a plea agreement but was found guilty in 1988 and sentenced to 70 years.

The Kentucky Innocence Project took up Virgil’s case in 2010. Its investigation showed DNA evidence was not connected to Virgil or the victim.

Virgil was released on a $15,000 cash bond after the Kentucky Innocence Project won a motion to gain him a new trial.


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