News and Press Releases

U.S. Attorney General Honors Eastern District of Virginia Prosecutors for Historic Cases

December 9, 2011

WASHINGTON – Seven individuals associated with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia were among 163 members of the Department of Justice recognized by Attorney General Eric Holder and Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys (EOUSA) Director H. Marshall Jarrett at the 28th annual Director’s Awards Ceremony today in Washington D.C.

 “We’re grateful to the Attorney General for recognizing the tremendous efforts of our prosecutors on these three historic cases,” said U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride. “Their efforts are mirrored by all of our prosecutors who work diligently to ensure justice throughout this District.”

Senior Litigation Counsel James L. Trump and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven D. Mellin, who is now with the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division, were recognized for their investigation and prosecution of Thomas Hager for his brutal 1993 murder of Barbara White.  The prosecution resulted in the first death sentence in the Alexandria Division.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Alan M. Salsbury and Melissa E. O’Boyle were honored for their successful corruption prosecution of Robert Glenn Ford, a veteran homicide detective with the Norfolk Police Department.  Ford accepted bribes, over approximately four years, from convicted drug dealers awaiting sentencing in exchange for falsely representing to state courts that they had provided assistance in solving homicide cases.  Ford is the highest-ranking law enforcement official the U.S. Attorney’s Office has prosecuted for public corruption.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Benjamin L. Hatch, Joseph Depadilla and former Assistant U.S. Attorney John S. Davis received awards for the historic prosecution of five Somali pirates for their armed attack on the USS Nicholas off the Horn of Africa.  This case marked the first piracy trial in Virginia since the 1820s and the first in the United States since the 1860s.

In his prepared remarks, Attorney General Holder told the awardees that they “represent the very best that this Department has to offer” and that their “work embodies our ongoing commitment – not merely to win cases, but to do justice; to protect our fellow citizens; to empower the most vulnerable among us; and to uphold the rule of law.”

            “Each day the members of the U.S. Attorneys’ community go to work for the citizens of this country with one goal in mind – to do everything they can to protect the rights of all Americans,” said EOUSA Director Jarrett.  “I am continually humbled by their resiliency, dedication, and unparalleled work ethic to accomplish this noble mission. Today’s awardees exemplify what it truly means to be a patriot and it is an honor to recognize them for their extraordinary service.”

EOUSA provides oversight, general executive assistance, and direction to the 94 United States Attorneys’ offices around the country. For more information on EOUSA and its mission, visit


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