If it is a case based in VA, you will need to refer this to VA attorneys, whether or not it is a federal or state case. From what you have written, it sounds as if your friend may need to see about filing an out-of-time habeas appeal. However, there are substantial issues to be dealt with, not the least of which is whether the time for filing any appeals has expired. If it is a federal case, there are various statutes, including the AEDPA, which have to be considered. Good luck.
I assume the defendant elected to go to trial by jury; I further assume he was found guilty; I further assume he was sentenced and that a timely appeal was filed. There are strict time limits to file an appeal, to file all post judgment relief motions attacking the judgment; collaterally attacking by way of a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, etc. You need to contact a criminal defense attorney in your area ASAP to review the file and see what, if any, options are available at this late date. Act ASAP.
I am trying to give you a general answer to your question. We do not have an attorney-client relationship by this response on the avvo website. I have not been retained to represent you. I am licensed to practice law in Kentucky and in federal court in this state and the Southern District of Indiana. You need to seek legal advice from an attorney licensed to practice in your area..
I agree with my colleagues, unless this case has a most unusual procedureal history it is probable that the time for exercising whatever remedies he may have had expired long ago. Surviving the out-of-time problem is going to the be the first, and perhaps the fatal, hurdle in this case. Consult an attorney familiar with appellate and collateral remedies in Virginia.