Taybronne White will face a grand jury and a first degree murder charge in connection with the shooting death of Brian Lee Daniels. That charge was certified in Greene County General District Court Wednesday in a preliminary hearing.
Back in May, Daniels and two others - Dustin Knighton and Lisa Hwang - were found dead on Octonia Road in Greene County. That was following a home invasion on Ford Avenue in Stanardsville, which investigators believe now is linked to the triple homicide.
The preliminary hearing Wednesday stretched nearly seven hours.
Everything from DNA evidence to gun analysis was brought to the table by the commonwealth. White's DNA was identified on the weapon and a few other pieces of evidence, according to an expert who took the stand. That DNA scientist also said the victim's DNA showed up, as well as some unknown DNA.
One witness testified she heard White and friends talking in a neighbor's yard in Charlottesville about the murders. She told the court that White had a history of robbery and drug use.
Greene County Commonwealth's Attorney Ron Morris based his argument on a collection of circumstantial evidence. That evidence also showed a strong link between all of the crime scenes, according to Morris.
Morris emphasized that White's DNA was found on a murder weapon and at least two other pieces of evidence. He also talked about how White was familiar with the areas where the car said to be involved in the crimes was seen.
The defense argued the commonwealth's claims only showed how the breaking-and-entering situation and murders were connected and not that White actually committed those crimes.
White's attorney explained that according to DNA evidence, at least four people had their hands on one of the pistols fired, some of that DNA belonging to an unknown individual. The defense said Knighton and Daniels were both found wearing latex gloves, which the defense believed could be in an attempt to keep their fingerprints off any weapons.
The defense said that was all reason enough to drop the case, but the court ultimately decided otherwise.
"We put on that evidence to give the judge, to give the court the full picture of the evidence that we had and we thought it was appropriate that he found that there was probable cause," Morris said.
Alonzo Cutchin, White's father, stated, "As a matter of fact, I'm more encouraged because I heard a lot of conflicting evidence that came out today."
Cutchin said outside of the courtroom Wednesday night that he prays the truth will come out and there's too much confusion in the evidence to convict his son.
In the end, the judge said there was in fact enough probable cause to try White for first degree murder. White will now face a grand jury on October 11.
Dannika Lewis joined the NBC29 news team as a general assignment reporter in June 2010. She started her ventures in broadcast news at Elon University where she graduated with a bachelor's degree in Broadcast Journalism. Email/Follow on Twitter/ Full Story