The former live-in boyfriend of a Hanover County woman pleaded not guilty this morning to her brutal stabbing death almost two years ago and is set to undergo a jury trial.
Brian S. Mallory, 44, stood before a Hanover Circuit Court judge and entered the plea despite sweeping circumstantial evidence against him but no eyewitness to a crime that stunned a community where the victim, Sarajane Hakopian, was considered a loving friend to all.
A jury was selected this morning and opening arguments were to begin this afternoon.
Mallory’s lawyer objected to the racial composition of the jury. The 40-member panel from which the jury of 14, including two alternates, was selected was all-white. Of the 14 chosen, only three are male. Mallory is black and Hakopian was white. A judge denied a defense request to have a new jury selected.
A neighbor found Hakopian’s body in the bedroom of her Beaverdam home Jan. 30, 2012, with multiple stab wounds. Hakopian’s two teenage children helped police track Mallory down in Jacksonville, Fla., the next day using cell phone calls to reveal his whereabouts. Mallory left Virginia in Hakopian’s car.
A felon with a long criminal history, Mallory had done yard work at Hakopian’s home when she took him in and the two became intimate. No explanation for Hakopian’s death has publicly materialized,
This morning, Mallory requested a new lawyer and a psychiatric evaluation. He had earlier been granted both, and the latest request was rejected.
White women, negroes do NOT make good house guests!