Prince William County prosecutors will meet with defense attorneys for a man accused of planning a drug-related murder, they told a Circuit Court judge Monday.
Prosecutors may move forward with re-trying a case against Justin Michael Wolfe, 31, who has spent the last 11 years behind bars for the alleged murder-for-hire of Daniel Petrole Jr., a marijuana dealer who was gunned down in Bristow in March 2001.
Prosecutor Rick Conway told Judge Mary Grace O’Brien that he would meet with Wolfe’s defense attorneys, who include lawyers from the University of Virginia Innocence Project, on Wednesday, and O’Brien scheduled both teams to reconvene in court on Friday.
The hearing comes in the wake of a federal appeals court decision last month that overturned and vacated Wolfe’s conviction, saying that prosecutors failed to turn over key evidence in the case. However, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit left the door open for prosecutors to re-try Wolfe for the murder and other charges.
Conway declined to comment further about the prosecution’s plans after the hearing. Commonwealth’s attorney Paul B. Ebert was not immediately available.
Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli will not appeal the 4th Circuit’s decision, according to the Associated Press.
“In our opinion, further litigation would not change the result,” a spokeswoman for Cuccinelli told the Associated Press.
Wolfe’s family, who has maintained his innocence, said outside the courtroom that Prince William prosecutors should drop the charges and end a more than 11-year ordeal. “We’ve already wasted enough of the state’s money trying to kill an innocent man,” said Terri Steinberg, Wolfe’s mother. “We’ll just continue to hope.”