Judge clears record of former Erie County resident

Local News

(WAVY) – A man who spent a year and a half behind bars for a 1990 murder now has his record cleared.

Robert Malick fought to have the charges he was once facing erased after a jury found him not guilty last year. The last time Malick was in a Virginia Beach courtroom, he was on trial for murder.

“It was like a weight off my shoulder, because I didn’t do it,” Malick said. “I believed in the justice system and it worked.”

Malick was charged in 2014 for the killing of 17-year-old Joan Schoppaul. Her body was found in a dumpster in December 1990.

Years later, Malick’s fingerprints came back on some crime scene evidence.

He was in the Navy stationed in Hampton Roads at the time of the murder. He always maintained his innocence and last year, a jury found him not guilty of the charges.

“It was a relief,” Malick added. “It was relief, because finally somebody was listening to me. The truth came out.”

Since then, Malick has been fighting to clear his record.

On Tuesday, the judge agreed and ruled to expunge all the charges.

“It’s clearing my name,” Malick said. “It’s getting rid of lies that were put against me and charged against me. That’s just what it was.”

Prosecutors objected to the judge’s decision because of the serious nature of the crime. They still feel as if they had enough evidence to prove his guilt.

“This is it,” Malick’s wife Karen added. “This is the last step and it is a nice breath of fresh air.”

Malick says he is looking forward to the next chapter, and is trying to get his life back to the way it was before his arrest.

“It was painful because of what I had to go through, what my family had to go through and what the Schoppaul family had to go through,” he said. “This brings closure for everybody.”

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