CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — Authorities have upgraded murder charges against the man accused of fatally shooting three University of Virginia football players last year.
A special grand jury in Charlottesville issued the new aggravated murder indictments against Christopher Darnell Jones Jr. If convicted, the 23-year-old would serve a mandatory life sentence. They are the most serious murder charges available in Virginia after it abolished the death penalty in 2021.
Jones was a UVA student in November 2022 and a former member of the football team when police say he opened fire on a charter bus that had brought back students from a field trip.
Football players Lavel Davis Jr., D’Sean Perry and Devin Chandler were killed, while a fourth member of the team, Mike Hollins, and another student were wounded.
Jones had initially been charged with second-degree murder after his arrest.
Albemarle County Commonwealth’s Attorney James Hingeley said in a news release that the new indictments were returned Wednesday.
Liz Murtagh, the public defender in Charlottesville and Albemarle County appointed to represent Jones, said she is “sorry the prosecutor chose to go this route” but declined further comment.