Trial Begins for Fishersville Shooting Suspect - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Trial Begins for Fishersville Shooting Suspect

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The suspect in a Fishersville murder case is facing a trial by jury. 

Jerad Michael Ross, 23, arrived at the Augusta County Courthouse under heavy security Wednesday morning. He is charged with murder and aggravated wounding, and could get two life sentences. Ross is accused of shooting Melvin Jordan, 48, last May outside the Skyline Motel in Fishersville.

On this first day of the trial, the Augusta County jury didn't hear any witnesses positively identify Ross as the shooter. And no murder weapon was ever found, despite the best efforts of tracking dogs and dive teams - but prosecutor Phil Figura promised to prove guilt beyond any doubt.

A special grand jury indicted the Ross in January on felony murder, aggravated wounding and firearms counts.

Prosecutors say Ross killed a man in broad daylight -  and in view of several witnesses - outside the Skyline Motel.  Jordan - the victim - lived and sometimes worked at the motel.

The jury heard testimony that last May, Jordan was using a weed eater when he was confronted by a woman and a man with long dreadlocks. Witnesses say Jordan briefly fought with the man and got him on the ground, then backed away with the warning, "leave it alone," but the other man pulled a gun and shot Jordan four times then casually walked away.

Deputies arrested Ross in a heavily wooded area about a half-mile from the crime scene.

Family members and friends of the victim say the shooting turned him from a strong, hard-working man into one who always needed a walker, and made near-constant trips to the University of Virginia Medical Center for rehab. Jordan died in November of what doctors ruled a pulmonary embolism.

Prosecutors must prove that deadly blood clot was the direct result of the shooting and that Ross is the man who pulled the trigger. 

The trial will continue Thursday morning with medical experts on both sides likely debating the victim's cause of death. A verdict is expected by the end of the day Thursday.

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