VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - The serious criminal charges a man once faced will be expunged from his record, a judge ruled Tuesday morning.
Robert Malick was arrested in 2014 and charged with second degree murder related to a 1990 murder in Virginia Beach, but a jury found him not guilty in 2016. Prosecutors didn't move forward with rape and sodomy charges.
Malick says his record still showed that he was once charged with serious crimes, despite the verdict. The judge's ruling erases them from his record, but it will take a few more months for the process to be completed with state police.
"It was like a weight off my shoulders because I didn't do it, so why should I walk around with those charges on my shoulders?" Malick said in an interview outside of the courthouse on Tuesday.
Police thought they had solved a cold case from 1990 when they arrested Malick in Pennsylvania in 2014 for the murder of 17-year old Joan Schoppaul. In an interview with News 3 shortly after his arrest, his wife Karen defended him. "You can't do something like that and be this amazing father and husband," she said. "I think there is a mistake. I really do."
During the trial, a detective said bloody fingerprints at the crime scene led police to Malick, who was a sailor in the area at the time of Schoppaul's killing. The defense said a man, who is now dead, admitted to killing Schoppaul. His relatives testified during the trial, backing up that story. In the end, the jury found Malick not guilty.
Since the verdict, Malick and his wife says they're trying to move on with their lives, but background checks point to his previous criminal charges, preventing him from helping with his son's baseball team and finding a job in his career field. "This is the last step," Karen said. "It's a nice breath of fresh air. We're very glad that we're done with this and we're probably not coming back to Virginia Beach."