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He was convicted of killing his friend. Now he says his due process rights were violated.

Posted at 2:46 PM, May 24, 2023

NORFOLK, Va. -- A Richmond man convicted of killing his friend Graham McCormick in a boating crash six years ago appealed the verdict in court Wednesday.

His lawyer, Jonathan Sheldon, argued Rand Hooper's due process rights were violated.

The case was argued Wednesday morning before members of the State Court of Appeals in Norfolk and CBS 6 obtained the filing documents.

Last year, a jury found Hooper guilty of involuntary manslaughter and leaving the scene of a deadly accident, which happened in Lancaster County in August 2017.

Graham McCormick and Rand Hooper

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A judge sentenced Hooper to six years behind bars.

In the appeal, the defense argued that there was no direct evidence Hooper was operating the boat at the time of the crash, and, therefore, the lower court made a mistake when it denied Hooper's original motions to strike the charges against him.

But, Senior Assistant Attorney General Virginia Theisen argued in her reply that the jury rejected Hooper's hypothesis that McCormick, who was visiting from out of town, was piloting the boat, which was owned by Hooper's father.

"In light of all the evidence presented at trial, including the defendant's behavior after the boat crash and his inconsistent explanations to friends and law enforcement, the jury was not plainly wrong or without evidentiary support in convicting Hooper," Theisen wrote.

The justices will consider both arguments before making a decision, which could take several months.

Depend on CBS 6 News and WTVR.com for in-depth coverage of this important local story. Anyone with more information can email newstips@wtvr.com to send a tip.

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