New details in VSU student’s shooting death
By Caitlin Davis, Senior Staff Writer
Jan 24, 2014, 10:48
CHESTERFIELD — More details have emerged in the shooting death of a Virginia State University student.
During a hearing Tuesday in Chesterfield County General District Court, Lamar Perry testified about the night VSU student Eric Wilkins Jr. was shot at a party.
Perry told the judge that the alleged shooter, Bryan Williams Jr., told him that night that he had messed up.
During a line of questioning from the prosecution, Perry outlined the events of that evening on Nov. 21 that led to the death of Wilkins.
Perry, Khayan Curry and Williams arrived to the party, located off campus at the 4000 block of J. Mitchell Jones Drive, and stayed only 20 minutes. The three men were not students at VSU.
As the three men were getting ready to leave, Perry’s friend Curry was pushed down by someone at the party.
As Perry went to help his friend, Williams grabbed him telling him, “Let them get their one-on-one.” Perry struggled to get free from Williams and then gunshots rang out at the party. Curry got off the floor and he, Perry and Williams ran to the car, which was parked at the nearby Food Lion.
When the three men got back into the car, Perry said Williams told him he had messed up, though using profane language to describe what he had done. After reviewing his written testimony, shown to him by the prosecution, Perry also said that Williams told him that he had fired shots.
Upon leaving the party, the three traveled to Perry’s cousin’s house in Hopewell. Perry said Williams went to use the restroom, located in the back of the house. The three men were only at the cousin’s house for about 20 minutes when all three went their separate ways for the evening.
The next day Perry said Williams told him the gun was hidden in a closet at the cousin’s house in Hopewell. Later that same day, police came to question Perry about the events the night before and with more questioning, Perry took police to the gun at his cousin’s house.
Perry also testified that at the party and throughout the evening, he did not see anyone with a gun.
Defense Attorney John Rockecharlie argued the charges against Williams should be manslaughter at best, but not first-degree murder. He said all the prosecution had was the gun in the closet. “They are barely there if they are there at all,” Rockecharlie said at the preliminary hearing.
Rockecharlie said there is no evidence supporting that Williams shot Wilkins out of malice or that there was any premeditation in the shooting at the party.
“We don’t know if he brought [the gun] to the party,” Rockecharlie said after Perry’s testimony. “You don’t know how or when he got the gun.”
After hearing from both the prosecution and the defense, Judge James O’Connell said there was enough evidence to move the case forward to the grand jury. He moved the charges of first-degree murder and felony use of a firearm against Williams to a grand jury to be heard in March. Judge O’Connell also denied the defense request for bond, at $25,000, for Williams.
“This is a tragic, tragic accident,” Rockecharlie said after the court proceedings on Tuesday.