Trial Postponed Again for Man Accused of Killing Roommate

Accused man was "very, very belligerent" after drinking, survivor of shooting testified

The trial for a Manassas man accused of killing his roommate has been delayed for the fourth time, reports News4's Chris Gordon.

David Wayne Laws, 55, is accused of killing Walter Sulzbach and attempting to shoot Sulzbach's fiancée, Mary Franco, in January 2011.

On Monday, Judge Richard Potter relieved Laws's court-appointed lawyer, Richard Mays, and said he will appoint another lawyer. Mays said Laws would not cooperate in preparing his case, Gordon reported, and Laws said Mays only visited him once in jail since the previous time the court delayed the trial Oct. 1.

A new trial date will be set Friday.

Franco told News4 on Monday that she's frustrated with the postponement and was ready to testify against Laws.

Investigators say Laws fatally shot Sulzbach after drinking four containers of Four Loko, a drink that previously came under fire by the Food and Drug Administration for having high contents of both caffeine and alcohol.

However, the makers of Four Loko says they voluntarily reformulated the drink in November 2010 by removing caffeine, guarana and taurine, and didn't ship any products containing caffeine after Nov. 17 of that year.

"We were pleased that the FDA commended us on November 24, 2010, for our decision to voluntarily reformulate our products," the company told News4 on Monday.

Manassas Patch previously reported:

At a preliminary hearing, Franco said that on Jan. 9, 2011, she and Sulzbach had gone out to see the movie "Black Swan." When they returned, Laws was "sitting on a couch in the living room, very, very belligerent," Franco testified at the 2011 hearing. Laws, who lived in Sulzbach's basement, had apparently been drinking Four Loko, which contains up to 12 percent alcohol.

Franco left the room and around midnight, she heard Laws "shouting and shouting and shouting. He just wasn't making any sense, but he'd usually do that about once every three weeks, when he drank those Lokos."

Franco also testified that Laws fired his gun at her. The bullet went over her head, but touched her hair.

Last fall, Laws's trial was delayed after he refused to enter a plea. A judge ultimately entered a not guilty plea on his behalf.


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