RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - We now know how attorneys for the man charged in a hit and run crash on River Road plan to defend their client. It's part of new information NBC12 found in court documents for the case against Elias Webb.
It might be the last new piece of information we learn before trial because the judge has issued a gag order on attorneys and discovery of evidence has turned private.
According to court filings, Elias Webb will give an alibi for where he was when Lanie Kruszewski was hit and killed. We might not know what alibi he will offer, but according to court documents we examined with NBC12 Legal Analyst Steve Benjamin, it seems attorneys are going to argue he was not at the exact spot on River Road where Lanie Kruszewski was killed while riding her bike on July 29.
"In this case, what it may simply mean is that the defendant is contending that while he drove up that road, he'd already passed that location - or had not yet arrived," Benjamin said.
The "alibi defense" is contradictory to what we've heard in the past. Webb's lawyers had said he admitted he was driving the Dodge Durango when police say it hit and killed Kruszewski, but that he thought he had hit a deer.
"It's been kind of a modified acceptance of responsibility," Benjamin explained. "'Yes, I was driving. Yes, I thought I hit a deer. I had no idea I had struck and killed a living person.'"
Forensics experts say physical evidence will be key in this case. Red swabs collected in a search could point out if the SUV hit a deer or Lanie Kruszewski.
But it's evidence we may not know about until the case goes to trial. We've learned from the filings that the defense and commonwealth are exchanging discovery by letter and packages, instead of public court pleadings.
Benjamin explains there is a reason behind this legal maneuver.
"Exchanging this information outside of the public record serves to minimize pretrial publicity, hence making it potentially easier to empanel a jury," he said.
But, he added, there's also a downside.
"It denies the public their right to know certain key facts about this case, in a case that the public is obviously very interested in," he said.
Webb's attorneys have also filed a change of venue motion. A hearing has not yet been scheduled on that issue.
As of now, a jury trial is on the court calendar in December.