A special grand jury updated the indictment for the young man accused of fatally shooting three University of Virginia football players and injuring one last year. The new charges are just one step under facing the death penalty.
Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., a former UVA football player, was accused of opening fire on a charter bus returning from a field trip to view “The Ballad of Emmett Till” back in November 2022, per The Daily Progress. Authorities say Lavel Davis Jr., D’Sean Perry and Devin Chandler were killed in the shooting and Mike Hollins was shot but survived his injuries.
Jones was originally facing second-degree murder charges that carried a maximum of 40 years imprisonment. However, Albemarle County Commonwealth’s Attorney James Hingeley announced an updated indictment last week bringing new, more serious charges of aggravated murder which carry a mandatory life sentence, per The AP.
The report says the charges are the next thing before the death penalty, which Virginia abolished in 2021. This isn’t the only hopeful development in the aftermath of this tragedy.
Hollins returned back to the football team four months after recovering from a back injury that put him on a ventilator. According to Sports Illustrated, Hollins got back in the game this season to remind folks he’s still got it.
Read more from Sports Illustrated:
Virginia tailback Mike Hollins, a survivor of the on-campus mass shooting that took place a year ago, scored his first touchdown of the season near the end of the first half of Saturday’s game. The play is Hollins’ first touchdown since he was hurt in the shooting that killed three UVA football players.
Hollins took the handoff on a 2nd and 2 play and found an open hole for the four-yard rushing score through a handful of James Madison defensive players, cutting the Dukes’ lead to 17-14 after the Cavs trailed 14-0 to start the game.
Hollins said he considered leaving Virginia for good after the shooting, but instead elected to return to the university and play again for the Cavaliers football team.
It’s still unclear what Jones’ motives for the shooting were but university officials said they were previously notified that Jones had a gun he kept in his dormitory and had a prior criminal record for carrying.