Trial date set for UVA shooting suspect
ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- The man accused of shooting and killing three members of the University of Virginia football team will stand trial next year.
In court on Monday, a judge set a trial date of Jan. 22, 2025, for Christopher Darnell Jones Jr.
Jones is facing dozens of charges, including six counts of aggravated murder, for allegedly shooting five University of Virginia students, killing three of them, on a bus coming back from a field trip in November 2022.
“It definitely sounds like there's some mental incapacity defense,” legal analyst Scott Goodman said.
Goodman said building an insanity defense takes time, and so will the trial. It's on the books for three weeks.
“It takes a long time to have the experts testify and be cross-examined. And also, in this case, because of the notoriety of the case, and because everyone is so familiar with what happened in the community, it will take a while to get a jury that's impartial,” he said.
A verdict will now be made over two years after the shooting. UVA has said it won't be releasing an external review of the incident until after the trial because of concerns over a fair trial.
“That was simply based on what the president and rector said. And of course, they don't have experience in criminal cases. So, it was never announced. What was the basis for that conclusion?” Goodman said.
Goodman said UVA should release at least part of the report, especially since leaders have said they made procedural changes surrounding safety because of it.
“So the university could be safer as a result of what the report revealed, but we in the public don't know what that report said, or in what ways the university fell short, which could have contributed to this horrible tragedy. And of course, the taxpayers are paying for the report. And the families of the victims have already said they want to know what's in the report,” Goodman said.
He said UVA could just block parts of the report that pertain directly to the case.
UVA was again approached for comment about the report, but did not respond.