LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - It’s a case that rocked the state of Kentucky for more than two decades -- the murder of University of Kentucky football player Trent DiGiuro.
It happened as the offensive lineman was celebrating his 21st birthday, back in 1994.
Now, 25 years later, the investigation that baffled police and loved ones is back in the national spotlight.
Trent’s father, Mike DiGiuro, told WAVE 3 News that after Trent’s murder, he and his wife went on America’s Most Wanted and other shows to keep the story out there. But in recent years, bringing it up is something they just didn’t want to do -- that was until Dateline NBC producers called them.
“It’s an emotional time,” Mike DiGiuro said.
Any time a parent talks about losing a child, it’s emotional, even when 25 years have come and gone. We asked if he was surprised when Dateline NBC called. “I was,” he said.
Because the DiGiuro’s wanted to tell the entire story of their son, Trent, and promote the foundation and scholarships in his name, they agreed to talk to Dateline’s Keith Morrison. Part of the Dateline episode goes back to Trent’s popularity as a student and how much he loved football.
“Trent was in fourth grade when he started playing football, in his hometown of Goshen, KY just outside of Louisville,” Morrison tells viewers, “by high school he was captain of the team, had lots of friends, so popular Trent was Homecoming King.”
Trent, a walk-on at UK, had his sights set on law school, when a call came in the middle of the night to his parents.
“They said, this is the Oldham County Police we’ve got some bad news,” Mike DiGiuro remembered, “your son Trent’s been killed and here’s a phone number to call.”
The number? The Lexington coroner.
Trent was shot on his front porch, sniper style at his 21st birthday party. The case went cold for six years.
“It was a pretty big who-done-it,” Mike DiGiuro said.
An ex-girlfriend of Shane Ragland came forward telling police it was Ragland who killed DiGiuro because he believed DiGiuro kept him out of a fraternity. Ragland was sentenced to decades in prison until his conviction was overturned in 2006.
Ragland took a plea deal, admitted guilt and spent only a few years in jail. Two years later, he was ordered to pay $63 million in a wrongful death lawsuit.
We asked Mike DiGiuro what the family got?
“Nothing,” he said. “He’s never paid a nickel.”
After Ragland was hurt in a car crash, he moved to Pennsylvania.
Mike DiGiuro says Trent’s friends have kept the foundation going and about 90 scholarships have been awarded. Those friends will watch Dateline with the family, Friday, March 22 at 10 p.m.