LEESBURG, Va. - A judge has declined to throw out the incest conviction of a former top lieutenant to Martin Luther King Jr. who died while his appeal was pending.
The Rev. James L. Bevel died at the age of 72 in December, months after a Loudoun County jury convicted him of having sex with his then-teenage daughter more than a decade before.
Bevel's attorney asked the court to dismiss the case in what is known as an abatement. The idea behind abatement is that a conviction is not final until the appeals process is complete. It's an accepted concept in federal court and many states, but Virginia law is unclear.
In denying the motion, Judge Burke McCahill said erasing the conviction would be unfair to the victim, who testified at Thursday's hearing.