University of Kentucky football player’s murder captures national attention
An episode of NBC’s ‘Dateline’ about the murder of a former University of Kentucky football player originally scheduled to air Friday, March 15 has been moved to a future date.
In 1994, Trent DiGiuro, an offensive lineman for UK, was fatally shot outside his home in Lexington while celebrating his upcoming birthday, according to Herald-Leader archives. He was just three days away from turning 21 years old.
It was one of Lexington’s most baffling whodunits until 2000, when Shane Ragland’s ex-girlfriend came forward and said he killed the Oldham County native. Ragland, a member of a prominent Frankfort family, allegedly held a grudge over being blackballed from the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.
Ragland used a sniper’s rifle to kill the 6-foot-2, 277-pound DiGiuro on July 17, 1994. According to the statement of the ex-girlfriend, Aimee Lloyd, Ragland lived a few doors down from the victim at the time of the shooting. Ragland told Lloyd that he observed a party going on at DiGiuro’s house that night, put his rifle in a bag and rode a bicycle to an area across the street from DiGiuro’s home.
Ragland said he shot DiGiuro in the head while he sat on his front porch, according to Lloyd.
Ragland was sentenced to 30 years in prison in 2002 for the murder of DiGiuro, but the Kentucky Supreme Court overturned the conviction in 2006 when it discovered an FBI agent lied during a pretrial conference.
A graduate from UK, Ragland later pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter and he was released from jail later in 2006 after he was given credit for previous time served.
Friends described Ragland as a smart, friendly computer whiz. A close childhood friend, Paul Looney, said in 2000 he found the accusations Ragland killed DiGiuro hard to believe.
DiGiuro’s family sued Ragland, and in 2008, the family was awarded $63.3 million, including $3.3 million in lost wages. It was the largest amount awarded in Fayette County and the second-largest ever in Kentucky.
According to news reports, Ragland sustained a spinal cord injury in a 2012 traffic accident and has used a wheelchair since.
While at UK, DiGiuro was an honor student and was in line to be a starting offensive guard.
Digiuro’s murder has been the subject of other television specials, most recently last year when Oxygen Network featured the former football player in its series “Dying to Belong.”
The ‘Dateline’ episode was initially scheduled to air Friday, March 15, but the network has now moved its airing to a later date. The new date has not been announced.