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.
A public defender appointed to represent Jones did not immediately return an email seeking comment Friday.