Why Virginia prosecutors want the Virginia Commonwealth’s first informant to be an attorney


By DAVID RICHARDSON Associated Press WriterVirginia Commonwealth’s attorney general, Robert C. Martin, said Friday he is recommending that prosecutors bring an informer to court to stand trial in the case of a former police officer accused of killing an unarmed black man.

Virginia Attorney General Robert Martin said Friday that prosecutors will need an informant to identify who was at the scene of the fatal shooting of William Thomas Jackson Jr. by former Norfolk police officer Robert H. Wilson in April 2019.

The case against Wilson was unsealed last week.

“We will want an informant in the courtroom,” Martin said.

“We need someone who can talk to the defense and give us a sense of the motivation and the intent of the defendant.

And we need somebody who can give us some idea of what the defendant may have done in the past.”

The charge that the state wants prosecutors to bring is murder, manslaughter or voluntary manslaughter.

It was previously announced that the defense was seeking an insanity plea.

Martin said prosecutors will want a criminal history that includes at least five prior convictions for violent crime, armed robbery or kidnapping, and one felony.

Martin also said prosecutors would like to have someone with a criminal record who can speak English fluently and has a strong desire to cooperate.

Prosecutors had not yet released details of the proposed case.

Martin has said he has not determined whether the information will be provided to the jury.

Virginia Commonwealth District Attorney William M. McBride said Friday in a statement that prosecutors would make a decision on the case “in the coming days.”

McBride, who has said that Wilson was not an informant, is expected to present the case to the Virginia Supreme Court next week.

Wilson, 38, pleaded not guilty to manslaughter in July.

He is due back in court on Nov. 20.

The case against the former Norfolk officer was unseal in April and was the first prosecution of an officer charged with killing a person in the line of duty.

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