The former University of Virginia student who allegedly killed three other UVa students and injured two others on Grounds last November will appear in Albemarle District Court for his third court appearance next month.
On Nov. 14, the day after the shooting, Virginia State Police arrested Christopher Darnell Jones, Jr. and charged him with three counts of second-degree murder, five counts of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony and two counts of malicious bodily injury.
Jones will appear in court on the morning of March 30 for two preliminary hearings. The first at 9 a.m. will cover two second-degree murder charges, all five firearm charges and the two malicious bodily injury charges. A subsequent preliminary hearing at 9:20 a.m. will address the final second-degree murder charge.
In Virginia, preliminary hearings allow the judge to examine witnesses in front of the accused and hear testimony for and against Jones from his public defender and the Commonwealth Attorney leading the prosecution. The hearing also provides an opportunity for the state to submit analyses or examinations authorized by state and federal agencies.
Jones first appeared in district court via video on Nov. 16, 2022 when Judge Andrew Sneathern assigned him legal counsel, Charlottesville-Albemarle deputy public defender and UVa Law lecturer Liz Murtagh, and decided that Jones would remain in custody without bond at the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail.
On Dec. 8, 2022, Jones returned to court, this time in person, alongside Murtagh for a secondary hearing in which Commonwealth Attorney James Hingeley told Sneathern how much time he would need to assemble witnesses for the preliminary hearing.
During the hearing, Hingeley told the judge that he needed at least a month to coordinate schedules with a long list of witnesses.
Jones is accused of opening fire on a bus of about 25 UVa students and one university professor as the group returned from a field trip to see a play in Washington, D.C. on Sunday night Nov. 13. With a gun witnesses say he pulled from his backpack, Jones allegedly killed football players Devin Chandler—who was asleep, student Ryan Lynch told The Daily Beast—Lavel Davis Jr. and D’Sean Perry.
Students Marlee Morgan and Michael Hollins, who is also a football player at the university, were also shot and hospitalized at UVA Medical Center for their injuries. Both students have since been released according to Morgan’s Instagram page and Hollins family spokesman Joe Gipson.
Jones and Murtagh did not respond to a request for comment from The Daily Progress.
The Albemarle General District Court website lists another preliminary hearing scheduled for Aug. 31 at 9:30 a.m.
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