Thursday, January 23, 2014
A black man faces the possibility of life in prison when he returns to court in March 2014 after a jury declared him guilty of first-degree murder in the stabbing death of his white girlfriend
The verdict followed a three-day trial where enough evidence was presented to convict Brian Mallory of killing Sarajane Hakopian in the bedroom of the home they shared. The verdict also comes close to bringing to a close a case spanning nearly two years and characterized by a number of procedural roadblocks and delays. The outset of the trial almost followed suit, with Mallory requesting new counsel and a change of venue, among a number of other motions from the defense denied by Circuit Court Judge J. Overton Harris. Mallory had previously undergone neurological testing and was determined competent to stand trial. Hakopian was found stabbed to death in her home. Her autopsy showed that she sustained a total of nine stab wounds, which a forensic investigator said caused her to bleed out while laying in bed. During the trial, Chief Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Shari Skipper had the witness read a number of explicit and violent text messages sent from Mallory’s phone the day before the murder regarding Hakopian. Entries from Hakopian’s journal, also submitted as evidence, revealed that Mallory had become possessive over her and did not want her to have contact with another man. In addition to the murder charge, Mallory – an already convicted felon – also faces three probation violation charges and one charge of petit larceny.