FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
September 27, 2012
Contact: Heather F. Williamson
Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office
20 East Market Street
Leesburg, VA 20176-2809
COMMONWEALTH’S ATTORNEY’S OFFICE DISCONTINUES PROSECUTION OF LEO DUROCHER
LEESBURG, Virginia – September 27, 2012. The Loudoun County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office elected not to prosecute at this time the case of Commonwealth v. Leo Durocher. Circuit Court Judge Thomas D. Horne granted the Commonwealth’s motion, finding good cause was shown. Mr. Durocher was charged in the 2001 murder of Patrick Hornbaker. The difficult decision to move to nolle prosequi these charges was reached in conjunction with James P. Fisher, Commonwealth’s Attorney for Fauquier County, and special prosecutor in the case, as well as Loudoun County Sheriff’s Detectives.
As demonstrated by the Grand Jury’s indictment, the charges against Mr. Durocher were supported by probable cause. However, the anticipated evidence at trial in the case hinged largely upon the testimony of a co-defendant, Robert Roy. On January 31, 2012, Mr. Roy pled guilty to the charge of second degree murder in this same incident and is awaiting sentencing. As part of his plea, Roy was required to cooperate with the Commonwealth in the prosecution of any co-defendant. Unfortunately, over the past several months Mr. Roy evinced a declining willingness to honor his agreement, culminating within the past twenty four hours in an absolute refusal. It is regrettable that the case cannot be pursued at this time. However, this Office was ethically obligated to seek this order in light of the balance of the remaining evidence in the case. The Office will continue to pursue the case and is working with the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office to continue to investigate.
The duty of the Commonwealth’s Attorney is not only to zealously pursue justice in the prosecution of crime, but also includes a duty to discontinue cases where a prosecution can no longer be sustained by the evidence.