Murder charge back on the table for Ashland Walmart parking lot shooting

Updated: Jul. 20, 2017 at 5:45 PM EDT
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HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - A murder charge is back on the table for the woman accused of killing another woman in the Ashland Walmart parking lot.

A Hanover General District Court judge originally threw out the murder charge, but a grand jury decided to indict Brittany Wiggins. She was also indicted for malicious shooting, use of a firearm in a felony, and shooting a firearm from a vehicle.

But the attorney for Wiggins, Joe Morrissey, says he's pretty confident about their case.

"It's a tragedy, but it's also an accidental killing. I think we'll make that clear to a jury," said Morrissey.

Morrissey is talking about the chain of events that happened in February in the Ashland Walmart parking lot. Wiggins was leaving the store when she says she became involved in an argument with two boys who were with Ashley Fricke.

Morrissey said Wiggins believed they were harassing her for her sexual orientation.

When the confrontation escalated, Wiggins took out a gun and shot in their direction.  The bullet hit and killed Fricke. Morrissey said Wiggins never intended to hit and kill Fricke.

But in May, a Hanover General District Court judge threw out the murder charge saying the state could not convince the court there was "predetermined intent." Wiggins was let out on bond.

But when the grand jury met in June, the Commonwealth brought the murder charge back, leading to the murder indictment.

"In many ways, I feel like I've tried this case twice, and the facts aren't going to change," said Morrissey.  "I think the biggest factor is going to be that she has a reputation for being peaceful and non-violent."
Morrissey said some of the things Wiggins has struggled with will play a part.

"It's too much to go into now, but she's had an IEP for many many years, and an IEP is more than just learning disabilities," he said.

The victim, Ashley Fricke, worked as a medical assistant and was engaged to be married when she was killed.

Prosecutors told NBC12 they do not comment before a case is tried.

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