News >> Browse Articles >> Officer Down News


Supreme Court Upholds Conviction In Trooper's Death

Supreme Court Upholds Conviction In Trooper's Death

Associated Press

September 17, 2010

VIRGINIA – The Supreme Court of Virginia upheld a Caroline County woman’s conviction in the shooting death of her state police officer husband Thursday, dismissing her argument that it should be overturned because the prosecutor made prejudicial statements.

Donna Blanton, 45, is serving a life term for the 2003 slaying of Virginia State Police 1st Sgt. Taylor Blanton, her husband of six months.

Taylor Blanton, a 26-year state police veteran, was shot four times with his own .380-caliber pistol as he lay in bed. Donna Blanton claimed an unknown intruder shot her husband.

Prosecutors alleged that Donna Blanton was drowning in debt, with unpaid credit cards, payday loans and gambling losses, and that she argued with her husband about money days before the shooting.

“While every murder is a tragedy, the murder of a state police officer who daily put his life on the line for others is especially tragic,” Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli said. “I am pleased with this decision and that justice will be served.”

Blanton was first convicted in 2005 but was granted a new trial when the Virginia Court of Appeals ruled that prosecutors improperly rejected five female potential jurors because of their gender. Blanton was convicted again at a second trial in which the defense offered scant evidence and no witnesses.

During closing arguments in that trial, prosecutor Tony Spencer told the jury that the defense didn’t present evidence of Blanton’s innocence because there was none. David Hargett, Blanton’s attorney, argued to the Virginia Supreme Court in June that Spencer’s comment violated the fundamental principle that a defendant is not required to produce evidence of innocence.

The court ruled that because the trial attorney didn’t move for a mistrial or for a cautionary instruction from the judge, Blanton’s attorneys couldn’t bring up the issue on appeal.

Hargett said he understands the ruling but called it a “tricky procedural issue,” especially because the trial attorney objected but was overruled.

Hargett also objected to a comment Spencer made that Blanton was in jail 10 days after her husband’s death. The state had argued that the statement was explaining why Blanton did not profit financially from her husband’s death.

The court ruled Thursday that the comment was “clearly not so indelibly prejudiced as to necessitate a new trial.”

“It’s an unfortunate situation and an unfortunate case that, quite frankly, in my opinion needed to be tried again to make sure it was a fair trial,” Hargett said.

Hargett said Blanton would consider her options.

  • Sfa_iv_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Now that is what I am talking about..My Old State..

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    almost 4 years ago

    The Virginia state supremes did a good job.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    almost 4 years ago


    I agree with AZmeangreen.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    almost 4 years ago

    bump - AZmeangreen

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    almost 4 years ago

    I'm sorry for the pay day loan companies that will not receive their monies owed them, to the bill collectors who will lose money because of this killer and most of all, a fellow officer lost his life due to a individual that really thinks she deserves a different kind of justice. She will rot.

  • Meangreen01_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    Let her rot.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    almost 4 years ago

    Sometimes I do wonder if a credit check is appropriate during the nuptials. :\ It is unfortunate that her financial irresponsibility lead to another person dying. It almost sounds as if she had a massive gambling addiction, but the news wasn't really clear on that aspect. Anyways, rest in peace Officer Blanton.

  • Fallenherobadge-3-1_max50_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    Married for six months, let her serve an eternity in hell.

  • Anonymous-killer-whale-232189_1__max50


    almost 4 years ago


    There's a special place in Hell for the likes of her .....

  • Untitledma28839986-0002_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    Glad the court got this one right.

  • Justice-400_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    Great. Because her lawyer didn't ask for a mistrial, she'll appeal again and say she had ineffective counsel.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    almost 4 years ago

    good about time the court gets it straight

  • Badge__hat_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    She shot him 4 times as he laid in bed. She deserves to be swiftly executed.

  • Littlegirltongue_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    she was already tried twice and found guilty twice AND she lied about his death???? No she deserves nothing more than her own punishment when she meets her maker.

  • My_kids_027_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    Finallly one good call for the good guys!!!!

PoliceLink School Finder

Save time in your search for a criminal justice degree program. Use PoliceLink's School Finder to locate schools online and in your area.

Get Info

* In the event that we cannot find a program from one of our partner schools that matches your specific area of interest, we may show schools with similar or unrelated programs.

Recent Activity

NavyDude is ranked No.1 for the day in PoliceTrivia, 13 minutes ago.
mz66 posted in: "What has happened to my Police Link?", 22 minutes ago.
csiguy posted in: "3 Word Response", 26 minutes ago.
BigNTS is ranked No.4 of all-time in PoliceTrivia, 27 minutes ago.
BigNTS is ranked No.2 for the day in PoliceTrivia, 27 minutes ago.