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Bail denied for man charged in Cherry Avenue convenience store slaying

A Charlottesville judge has denied bail to one of two people arrested after the Saturday afternoon shooting that left one man dead inside a Cherry Avenue convenience store.

Judge Robert Downer in Charlottesville District Court on Thursday morning denied bail for Nasir Floyd McGhee, who was charged with malicious wounding after the incident.

The other suspect has remained unnamed, but identified by the initials O.A. in court on Thursday, ashe is a juvenile.

Downer specifically cited the rise in gun violence in the region in his decision to deny McGhee’s bail.

“The fact is this community is suffering right now with too much violence from firearms,” said Downer. “I am not going to grant bond.”

Gun violence in the two localities has taken the lives of 14 people and injured 22 others since September of last year, according to an ongoing Daily Progress tally.

Testimony from the Thursday’s bail hearing provided a graphic description of the violence that took place inside the Sunshine Supermarket last Saturday afternoon.

Downer’s decision came after Nina-Alice Antony, the senior assistant commonwealth’s attorney, laid out what investigators said they saw on multiple surveillance videos inside the store.

Antony started her narrative with the victim, Justice Kilel. A 20-year-old Gordonsville resident, Kilel was shopping when attacked, said Antony.

“He is standing at the checkout counter by himself, said Antony. “A car pulls into the parking lot.”

Antony said that two men remained inside the car while two others emerged.

“The two individuals walk into the store, and you can see from the video that they glance at the victim,” said Antony. “The individuals are wearing hoods. Their faces are masked.”

Antony said the videos carried no audio but showed the two individuals were able to silently communicate via facial expressions.

She said that McGhee walked behind the victim without making eye contact. She identified the second individual as the other suspect in the case: a 17-year-old referred to only as O.A.

“O.A. makes a beeline from the door to the victim, and he throws a punch wearing brass knuckles,” said Antony. “O.A. continues to hit him with the fist that has the brass knuckles as Mr. McGhee is holding the victim and restraining him.”

While trying to escape what Antony describes as McGhee’s “full nelson” arm restraint, she said Kilel attempted to retrieve a gun with a green laser sight from his waist, but it fell to the floor.

“All three individuals go for the gun,” said Antony.

Amid the melee, the gun was discharged and a bullet struck O.A. in the abdomen, said Antony. As McGhee and Kilel continued to struggle, she said, O.A. began reaching for his own firearm before suddenly getting control of a gun.

Antony described a quick glance that she calls “communication” between McGhee and O.A. She said McGhee suddenly jumped off Kilel.

“O.A. shoots the victim four times in the back while he’s face down on the ground,” said Antony.

Antony said that O.A. was then driven to a hospital, and the car then traveled to Timberland Park, an apartment complex along Old Lynchburg Road near Interstate 64. There, Antony said, McGhee changed clothes, and, later, investigators confiscated other firearms at what she called his apartment.

“It’s his mom’s,” corrected a family member in the courtroom.

“Certainly, the facts of this case are alarming,” said McGhee’s attorney, Michael La Fratta.

“What I heard was O.A. reached for brass knuckles, that O.A. was the person firing a weapon,” said La Fratta.

Holding what he said were multiple “reference letters” about McGhee and gesturing to four of McGhee’s family members in the courtroom, La Fratta said he wished to focus on the presumption of bond.

“This young man is a very young man,” La Fratta said. “He has no criminal history, judge.”

La Fratta requested his client be allowed to go to a new apartment with his father and 7-year-old siblings with a tracking device monitoring his movements.

Antony persisted in urging bond denial.

“The concern of the commonwealth is the safety of the community in an offense like this,” said Antony. “Mr. McGhee and O.A. acted in concert every step of the way.”

The judge agreed.

“The fact is that it’s captured on video,” said Downer.

By the time the hearing ended, the video feed bearing McGhee’s image had cut out. He was not able to hear the judge decide to leave him at Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail until his preliminary hearing slated for June 15.

La Fratta and McGhee’s family members declined to comment to The Daily Progress on the decision.


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