Murder charge headed to grand jury

Eric Driver
Eric Driver

By Rachel DePompa - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The charges against a Virginia Union student accused of killing an alleged thief are headed to a grand jury. 25 year old Eric Driver is accused of second degree murder.

Police say Driver opened fire after catching a man breaking into his girlfriend's car. This case comes down to one issue. Was Eric Driver defending personal property or did he believe his life was in danger?

Police say Eric Driver caught 24 year old Jamal Hollman breaking into his girlfriend's car.

"The type of guy he is. He's not a cowboy out there. He's someone who was really startled by his girlfriends' reaction," said Driver's attorney John Luxton.

Witnesses said Driver fired at least six shots at Hollman. Hollman was hit three times and died wearing a black mask.

Dan Manza was walking his dogs in an alley. From his viewpoint he saw a man running and another chasing behind firing a gun. But Driver's defense attorney says this eyewitness did not see the whole encounter.

"Further down the street there's going to be evidence where my client will say that he was attacked by this guy. And some shots were fired," said Luxton.

A Richmond police officer also heard the shooting and arrived within seconds. He says Driver told him Hollman had a gun. Police brought in a dog that could smell firearms and even drained the sewers but never found a second gun.

"There was no other firearm found. And we think, even though the lab work isn't back yet, it will show that only one firearm was used out there at all," said Thomas Johnson, Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney.

Prosecutors say Driver's reaction to the car break-in actually put the public at risk and was not legal under the law.

"Life, limb? Yes. Not in property. Self defense arguments have to go to threats of bodily harm," said Johnson.

The second degree murder and weapons charge against Driver will go before a grand jury on July 6.

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