The Lynchburg Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office has moved to drop the remaining charge of unlawful wounding against AUSTIN ROZDILSKI. He’s the Campbell County teenager who fatally shot one EC Glass High School senior and injured another in 2019. Rozdilski claimed self -defense and was acquitted of murder, but convicted of unlawful wounding. Earlier this week a judge set aside the verdict after the defense presented new evidence about a gun that had belonged to one of the victims. The Commonwealth could have chosen to try Rozdilski again, but the office said today that the victim does not want to pursue the matter. They will ask the judge to dismiss the charges.
For Immediate Release:
April 2, 2021
LYNCHBURG COMMONWEALTH’S ATTORNEY OFFICE MOVES TO DISMISS THE REMANING CHARGE OF UNLAWFUL WOUNDING AGAINST AUSTIN ROZDILSKI
On March 31, 2021, Lynchburg Circuit Court Judge F. Patrick Yeatts ruled that based on newly discovered evidence in the case of Austin Rozdilski, the jury verdict of guilt on one count of unlawful wounding would be set aside. On December 10, 2019, a Lynchburg jury found Austin Rozdilski not guilty of second degree murder, malicious wounding, and two counts of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. The jury found Rozdilski guilty of a lesser charge of unlawful wounding.
Key to the defense of the case was Rozdilski’s claim that Dre’yon Browley and Justin Barnett held him at gunpoint on May 16, 2019, the date of the offense. Rozdilski claimed he acted in self-defense when he produced his own firearm, shot twice, and killed Browley. He then shot Barnett in the buttock as Barnett ran away. Rozdilski testified that he met Browley and Barnett behind the Meadows Apartments in Lynchburg that day to purchase a firearm from Barnett.
Barnett testified in court on December 9, 2019 that he did send Rozdilski a picture of a firearm that Barnett claimed to possess and offered it for sale to Rozdilski. Barnett denied that he actually possessed the gun.
A groundskeeper from the Meadows Apartments testified that on May 16, 2019 he heard two shots, saw one man go down, then another man run toward him. When he saw the young man fall to the ground, he also saw a gun fall from his person and slide on the ground. No firearm was found on scene by the Lynchburg Police Department. By the time officers arrived on scene, bystanders were around Browley and Barnett.
After the jury verdict in December 2019 and before the final sentencing of Rozdilski was scheduled, an adult man was arrested in June 2020 on an unrelated charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. This man claimed Barnett gave him the firearm on the day of the shooting at the Meadows.
This information was turned over to Rozdilski’s attorney. Rozdilski filed a motion to set aside the jury’s verdict based on this newly discovered evidence. The defendant argued that even though the jury heard evidence that Barnett was armed on the date of the shooting, the new evidence weighed so heavily against Barnett’s credibility that as a matter of law the jury’s verdict should be overturned and a new trial granted. The court agreed with the defendant and set aside the jury’s verdict.
BETHANY A. S. HARRISON
OFFICE OF THE
COMMONWEALTH’S ATTORNEY FOR THE CITY OF LYNCHBURG
MONUMENT TERRACE BUILDING
901 CHURCH STREET
LYNCHBURG, VIRGINIA 24504
FAX (434) 846-5038
The effect of the court’s ruling would allow the Commonwealth to set this case for a new trial on the charge of unlawful wounding only. The Commonwealth cannot bring back the charges where Rozdilski was found not guilty. After consultation with Barnett’s family, Barnett made it clear that he does not want to pursue this matter further. Therefore, for all the reasons listed above, the Commonwealth filed a motion today to nolle prosequi the remaining charge of unlawful wounding. If the court grants this motion, the charge will be dismissed without prejudice. The court does have the option of dismissing the charge with prejudice which means the charge cannot be reinstated.