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Judge Certifies Murder Charge in Hardy Drive Shooting

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -

A judge has certified the charge of first-degree murder against 39-year-old Avery Fernando Gray Jr.

Investigators believe Gray purposely shot and killed 36-year-old Oscar Nathaniel Brown Jr. the morning of May 17.

The judge's ruling Thursday came after a series of emotional testimonies given by witnesses, including two of Brown's brothers, who were at the scene of his death. Brown's brother Israel Rose testified he saw Gray approach a group of people, including his brother, on Hardy Drive with a black revolver in his hand. He says he heard four to five gunshots and then Gray fled the scene in a white Honda.

Gray's defense tried to argue that because his Brown had been described as acting aggressively, specifically punching a fence, the charge should be reduced to second-degree murder as Gray may have been defending himself.

The judge disagreed, saying Gray seemed purposeful in his actions.

Gray will be back in court October 20 to set the date for his first official hearing before a jury where he will be tried for that charge of first-degree murder.

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