Manslaughter conviction may be struck from former UMD student's record

The defendant is one step closer to making his guilty pleas disappear.

UPPER MARLBORO, MD (WUSA9) - The University of Maryland student who threw a fatal punch against his classmate may have the most serious conviction struck from the record.

“It was like a dagger in my heart to get that call, couldn’t believe it,” said victim’s mother after court.

The defendant, Arasp Biparva, spent 10 days in jail and got three years on probation after he was convicted of second-degree assault and manslaughter.

He threw a punch in March 2013 that left what prosecutors described as an “avocado-sized” hole in his classmate’s head. Months passed and that classmate, Jack Godfrey, seemed to be well on the road to recovery. Then, Godfrey died from a seizure in his sleep.

On Friday, a Prince George’s County judge struck the defendant’s second-degree assault conviction from the record. Now, the fight is focused on whether or not the manslaughter conviction should remain.

The victim’s mother, Nicola Bridges, learned of the defense’s latest push last week.

“You know my son’s not here, he doesn’t have a life, never have a wife, kids, let alone a job,” Bridges said. “And the defendant is asking for the conviction to be stricken because he can’t get a job.”

Surveillance video caught Godfrey lying on the ground with dozens of college-aged adults surrounding him. Biparva admitted to police that he had just punched him outside of a College Park bar. Based on multiple accounts, it was a sucker punch – Godfrey didn’t know it was coming.

It was reported that multiple fights had broken out that night. Surveillance footage showed Godfrey’s buddies picking him up and carrying him away from the scene.

RELATED: Former UMD student sentenced in punching death of fellow student

Godfrey was thought to be recovering well.

“We were so excited,” Bridges said.

His fraternity was scheduled to hold a charity event to raise money for the non-profit that was started to support brain injury victims.

“So we came for a weekend that was supposed to be full of joy and it ended up being a candlelight vigil for my son,” Bridges said. 

Godfrey’s mother said that was when her son died after having a seizure in his sleep.

His death led Biparva to plead guilty to manslaughter. The state, however, had already agreed to “probation before judgment,” or a PBJ, on the second-degree assault charge.

As long as the defendant followed court orders, that conviction would likely be struck from the record. On Friday, it was.

The defense argued that the manslaughter conviction should be struck as well. It said a second PBJ was agreed to and the defendant kept up his end of the bargain.

The judge disagreed and is now reconsidering whether or not the conviction should be wiped from the defendant’s record.

Without a struck conviction, Biparva could not seek to have his record expunged. That is to say, he cannot remove any legal trace that the incident ever happened, decreasing his chances of employment and potentially eliminating other opportunities.

“We’re hopeful that the judge does not strike his conviction,” Bridges said.

According to Biparva’s attorney, his client never intended to kill the victim and only responded after someone else had roughed him up. The lawyer pointed out that both parties were drinking at the time.


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