Legal analyst explains what comes next for suspected UVA shooter

Published: Nov. 15, 2022 at 5:11 PM EST
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Just before 1pm on Tuesday, Nov. 15, Christopher Jones Jr. arrived at Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail.

As of right now, he is facing three counts of second-degree murder and three counts of use of a handgun in the commission of a felony, however more charges may be filed.

He is currently awaiting his arraignment at ACRJ.

“The charges facing Mr. Jones are incredibly serious.” NBC29 Legal Analyst AC Rieman said. “The reason why is because three people have died, two are injured, and because of that, there are consequences that are altering lives and communities.”

Rieman says just one charge of second-degree murder could result in a life sentence.

“The second-degree murder charges mean that he did have an intent to kill those people on that bus, and so because of that, intent prosecution is going to have to prove every single element of the crime.” Rieman said. “He’s up against three separate counts, three separate individuals, and three separate lives lost.”

Christopher Jones Jr. will face charges in Albemarle General District Court. The first step is an arraignment, which has a few steps.

“Number one is to identify the accused. Number two is also to notify the accused of the charges that are against them. Number three, it’s also a chance for the accused to plead not guilty or guilty,” Rieman said.

At the hearing there will also be a decision on if bail is appropriate. Then both sides will prepare for trial.

“What’s going to take the longest is that trial preparation, because all the evidence needs to be collected on both sides,” Rieman said. “The burden of proof is on the prosecution, and they have to prove that Mr. Jones is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.”

The Albemarle General District Court Presiding Judge Matthew Quatrara has recused himself from the case because he issued the arrest warrants. Judge Kenneth Andrew Sneathern will preside over the preliminary hearing.

RELATED: UVA provides updates on deadly Culbreth Rd. shooting, suspect in custody

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