Legal maneuvering is underway now that the death penalty is on the line for at least one of three suspects charged in connection to the murder of a Louisa County man.
Dion Phoenix appeared in Louisa County Circuit Court Wednesday, February 15, and was formally served a capias for a capital murder charge.
Defense attorneys introduced a number of procedural arguments, the first of many in a case of this magnitude.
Phoenix is also charged with robbery, use of a firearm in the commission of a murder, use of a firearm in the commission of a robbery, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
According to court documents, prosecutors believe Darcel Murphy and Tobias Owens borrowed a car from a woman in Northern Virginia and drove it to Charlottesville to pick up Phoenix.
The prosecution plans to use testimony from a jailhouse informant. The informant claims Phoenix told him that he and Murphy were going for a safe at a Louisa County home.
Authorities believe Phoenix and Murphy got into a shootout with 43-year-old Kevin Eugene Robinson inside the Oakland Road home on March 29, 2016.
Deputies with the Louisa County Sheriff's Office were called out to the home the next day after family members discovered Robinson’s body.
Investigators have said evidence suggested Robinson fought back against his attackers, but he was shot multiple times.
An informant reportedly told authorities that Phoenix and Murphy shot and killed Robinson, stealing the victim’s watch as well.
Court documents also allege that the three suspects were later spotted by law enforcement on Interstate 95 in Stafford County driving more than 90 miles an hour. They allegedly crashed the car, and disposed of the guns used in the murder.
The prosecution handed over about 80 gigabytes of evidence to the defense during Wednesday's hearing. Some of that evidence is believed to include recordings of jailhouse phone calls, as well as blood and ballistic evidence.
There may also be evidence of Phoenix apologizing to the victim's sister at a court hearing last summer.
The judge is allowing a mental health expert to study the defendant.
A trial date is not yet set for Dion Phoenix. Capital murder cases typically involve numerous motions hearings and take a long time to get to trial.
Murphy and Owens are facing similar charges. Murphy is also facing a capital murder charge.
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