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Ragland appeals civil verdict

Shane Ragland, who has admitted that he shot and killed University of Kentucky football player Trent DiGiuro in 1994, has filed for an appeal of his civil court case.

Ragland's filing comes nearly a month after a Fayette circuit judge refused to throw out a record award of $60 million in punitive damages against Ragland in the sniper-style shooting death.

Ragland's attorney, David Broderick of Bowling Green, filed for the appeal Monday in Fayette Circuit Court in response to Judge Thomas Clark's Jan. 7 ruling. Ragland had 30 days to file a notice of appeal.

Ragland, who was arrested in 2000, was convicted in 2002 of murder, but the Kentucky Supreme Court overturned the verdict in 2006.

Ragland accepted a plea deal in 2007 and pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter. His sentence was for time served plus an additional three days of home incarceration.

Ragland admitted to fatally shooting DiGiuro in front of a Woodland Avenue rental house while DiGiuro was celebrating his upcoming 21st birthday. Prosecutors have said that Ragland was angry because he wrongly thought DiGiuro had prevented him from getting into the fraternity.

DiGiuro's family sued Ragland, and in August, a jury awarded the family $63.3 million, including $3.3 million in lost wages.

The amount awarded, if it stands, will be the largest ever to come out of Fayette County and the second-largest ever in Kentucky.

Ragland and his attorneys did not attend the civil trial, but they filed a motion in September asking for the verdict to be tossed out and requesting a new trial. They claimed that the verdict was excessive, despite their earlier offer to settle the case for $50 million.

Clark overruled that motion last month. His order represented the strongest public statements he has made in the eight years that he has presided over the criminal and civil cases.

"This court ... can find no greater act of reprehensibility than the premeditated, senseless killing of a young man about to enter the prime of his life, particularly in light of the purported motive," Clark wrote.

"To lie in wait, in the dark of night, and assassinate a person for purportedly being blackballed from a fraternity years earlier, the court can find no greater reprehensible conduct."

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