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Sunday, March 25, 2007

Child molester was strangled

1-16-2004 Virginia:
Blunt-force trauma to the torso contributed to Ausley's death in a state prison cell

Child molester Richard Alvin Ausley was killed by strangulation and blunt-force trauma to the torso, the state medical examiner's office said yesterday in classifying his death in prison as a homicide.

Ausley, 64, was found dead on the floor of his cell at the high-security Sussex I State Prison near Wakefield on Tuesday night. Prison officials said Ausley was locked in the cell with another inmate, whom they would not identify, when his body was discovered between 10:30 p.m. and 11 p.m.

Prison officials are investigating the circumstances of the killing but said they would release no further details until at least Tuesday, when state employees return from a long holiday weekend.

Kara Gotsch of the Washington-based American Civil Liberties Union's national prison project, a prisoner advocacy organization, said she could draw no conclusions about the slaying from the meager facts at hand so far. She said details such as the background of Ausley's cellmate and the time when the guards last checked the cell would show whether prison officials had taken reasonable steps to protect Ausley's life.

It's no secret that imprisoned child molesters are frequent targets of other inmates and need special vigilance, Gotsch said.

Evelyn Henson, a spokeswoman for the state medical examiner's office, said an autopsy determined Ausley was strangled with some type of ligature - a cordlike object probably narrower than a twisted-up shirt or bed sheet - and that a heavy blow or blows to his torso contributed to his death.

Ausley in the 1970s had violently sexually assaulted young boys, imprisoning one in a box in the woods of what was then Nansemond County.

The victim of that crime, Paul Martin Andrews of Miami, said Wednesday that he had never wanted to see Ausley dead or injured, merely to keep him off the streets forever, and that he felt some responsibility for Ausley's death.

Two years ago, Andrews, determined to prevent Ausley from being freed as his prison sentence neared its end, led a campaign to provide funding for a state program to keep certain violent sexual offenders confined after their prison terms ended. Andrews also persuaded another of Ausley's victims, Gary E. Founds, to come forward after three decades of silence and report that Ausley had sexually assaulted him.

Founds' statements prompted prosecutors in Portsmouth to file new charges against Ausley in 2002, securing a conviction that added five years to Ausley's time in prison. The new conviction also changed Ausley's status in the prison system and caused him to be transferred from Brunswick Correctional Center to the tougher Sussex I prison.

Had he survived his prison term, the state attorney general's office planned to file a petition seeking his continued confinement under the law his case inspired.

Ausley had told the Richmond Times-Dispatch he regretted his crimes, would pose no danger anymore, and had found a family in Southwest Virginia willing to take him in if he was released.

But less than two months after arriving inside the walls of Sussex I, Ausley was dead.

Founds told WVEC-TV in Norfolk he felt no sympathy for Ausley. "If there was an award, I'd give it to the guy that got him," Founds said. "That sounds cold, but he didn't care about how we felt when he was raping us and attacking us the way he did." ..more.. by


Inmate Says He Warned Corrections Officials Not To Put Him With Child Molester From Hampton Roads


The inmate accused of killing one of Virginia's most notorious child molesters when they were forced to share a cell said he warned a corrections official not to put them together, The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported Friday.

Dewey Keith Venable, 24, told the newspaper in a letter this week that the officer he warned responded by telling him he would be put into isolation unless he agreed to share a cell with Richard Alvin Ausley at Sussex I State Prison in Waverly.

Venable, indicted in May for capital murder in the Jan. 13 strangulation and beating of the 64-year-old Ausley, was the victim of a molester when he was a child.

The slaying came before Ausley was about to make parole, a development that prompted state legislators to pass a law allowing dangerous sexual predators to be locked up indefinitely in treatment centers once they complete their prison sentence.

Venable also claimed in the letter that he has attempted to take his own life and has been on suicide watch several times since the slaying.

Prison officials declined to comment on why the men were put together in a two-man cell, what they knew about Venable's history or other details of their investigation.

Venable is serving an 18-year, nine-month sentence for felony convictions that include carjacking, abduction, robbery and illegal use of a firearm in Virginia Beach.

Norfolk Circuit Court records list Venable among the victims of Dennis L. Sewell, who pleaded guilty on May 31, 1988, to two counts of aggravated sexual battery.

Ausley abducted a 13-year-old Portsmouth boy, buried him in a box in Suffolk and sexually assaulted him repeatedly in 1973. The case received national news coverage and the victim, Paul Martin Andrews, led the fight for the state's new Sexually Violent Predators Act.

Venable is to be arraigned on the murder charge Aug. 18 in Sussex Circuit Court. ..Source..

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