Suspect of fatal UVA shooting of 3 football players appears in court

The student charged with opening fire on a loaded charter bus, killing three University of Virginia players and wounding two other classmates, briefly appeared in court Thursday.

The accused, Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., 22, appeared in court in Charlottesville for a status conference in the triple murder case. It was his second trial since his arrest in November’s deadly attacks.

Jones was represented by a public defender at the hearing.

A judge has scheduled a preliminary hearing in the case for March 30, according to ABC-affiliated station WSET in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Jones is charged with three counts of first-degree murder, two counts of intentional wounding and five counts of using a firearm in the commission of a felony. He has yet to plead the charges.

The Henrico County, VA Sheriff’s Office released a new booking photo of Christopher Darnell Jones.

The Henrico County, VA Sheriff’s Office

The shooting occurred on Nov. 13 when Jones allegedly opened fire with a handgun on a charter bus full of students returning to the UVA campus in Charlottesville from a field trip to Washington, D.C., officials said.

In the attack, UVA Cavaliers football players Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis Jr. and D’Sean Perry. Students Mike Hoins and Marlee Morgan were also injured in the shooting.

Jones was a walk-on member of the school’s football team in 2018 but never played in a game, UVA officials said.

PHOTO: University of Virginia football coach Tony Elliott speaks at a memorial service for three slain University of Virginia football players at the school's John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville, Virginia, November 19, 2022.

University of Virginia football coach Tony Elliott speaks at a memorial service for three slain University of Virginia football players, Lavel Davis Jr., D’Sean Perry and Devin Chandler, at John Paul Jones Arena at the school in Charlottesville, Virginia , Nov. 19. 2022.

Steve Helber/AP

A possible motive for the shooting has not been disclosed by prosecutors or investigators.

As police continue to investigate the murders, Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares is conducting an outside assessment of the circumstances leading up to the attack. Miyares has not yet announced any findings in his investigation.

A law enforcement barring access to the crime scene where a shooting took place on the grounds of the University of Virginia November 14, 2022 in Charlottesville.

Win Mcnamee/Getty Images

Prosecutors said a witness told police that Jones targeted specific students on the bus and that one of the victims, Chandler, was shot dead while sleeping on the bus.

Jones was arrested a day after the attack following a massive search for him.

Virginia State Police confirmed that multiple guns and ammunition were seized from Jones’ home.

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