A charge of attempted first-degree murder against a Martinsville man in a shootout in the parking lot of a convenience store, in which a teenager also is charged, is headed to a grand jury.
Martinsville General District Court Joan Ziglar certified to the grand jury three of the eight charges from June 2 against Marquis Antonio Waller, 23, of 7 Booker Road, Apt. 16, according to court records: attempted first-degree murder; shooting in a public place, resulting in bodily injury; and maliciously shooting at an occupied vehicle.
The prosecution dropped but could reinstate charges of felonious destruction of property and misdemeanor reckless handling of a firearm, and Ziglar dismissed charges against Waller of attempted robbery, use of a firearm in the commission of attempted robbery and shooting within an occupied building.
Courtney Armstrong, Waller’s lawyer, said in an interview that “we were pleased that the judge dismissed the charges that were dismissed.”
Armstrong said those charges dismissed were because of lack of sufficient evidence. She also said she was pleased with the prosecution “nolle prossing” some of the charges, which means dropping with the option to reinstate.
She said no evidence was presented at the preliminary hearing regarding shooting in the convenience store – that the evidence that was presented concerned shooting outside around the gas pumps.
“We’ll put on the absolute defense we can when it reaches Circuit Court,” Armstrong said.
A juvenile charged in the incident is scheduled to have a hearing in Martinsville Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court on Sept. 18. The boy, who is at least 14 years old, is charged with attempted robbery, use of a firearm in attempted robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery, attempted second-degree murder and possession of a firearm by a felon, Martinsville Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Paula Bowen said in an interview.
If a judge finds sufficient evidence on the felony charges to send those cases to Circuit Court, the juvenile could be tried as an adult, Bowen said.
She said in the charges against the juvenile the alleged victim in the attempted robbery, conspiracy to commit attempted robbery and use of a firearm in a felony is Stanley Turner Jr.; and the alleged victim of the charge of the attempted second-degree murder is Tyheim Farris.
A criminal complaint by Sgt. Richard Ratcliffe of the Martinsville Police Department described in detail a shootout outside the store that led to the alleged charges:
» Waller and a juvenile drove to the Circle K Store (at 937 E. Church St.). Waller jumped out of his vehicle at the gas pumps and attempted to rob Stanley Turner (Jr. of Martinsville), who was sitting in a vehicle at the pumps. The driver of Turner’s vehicle was in the store and ran out when the shots were fired. Waller then started shooting into the vehicle Turner was in. (Bowen identified Tyheim Farris as the driver of the vehicle Turner was in, a dark-colored Chrysler Sebring. According to court records, Farris has a Martinsville address.)
» The juvenile then exited Waller’s vehicle and began to shoot at Turner’s vehicle (a Honda, according to Bowen).
» The store was open, and several customers were on the scene and put in danger.
» Waller and the juvenile fired multiple times during the incident.
» Several thousand dollars of damage was caused to the Circle K Store. (Bowen said no shots were fired from inside the store.)
» The event was captured on closed-circuit TV.
» During the incident, Turner is alleged to have been “able to fire back in defense of his life, wounding the accused [Waller],” the criminal complaint stated.
However, Bowen said in an interview that Ratcliffe testified that, after watching the video, he believed the juvenile shot Waller. Bowen said that conclusion is not based on ballistics test results, and the prosecution is awaiting those results. She said the juvenile has not been charged with that offense.
Waller was shot in the left hip during the incident, Bowen said.
According to Bowen, there was no testimony at the preliminary hearing about what prompted the alleged robbery.
Multiple cartridge casings were found throughout the parking lot and roadway, according to search warrants. Also, green leafy material product consistent with marijuana was observed in both vehicles (one a dark-colored 2004 Chrysler Sebring and the other a silver 1998 Honda Accord).
According to search warrant documents, items seized from the Chrysler included green plant material — center console/cup holder; Glock test fire envelope — center console; yellow bag with loose 7.62 rounds — center console; Glock magazine with one 9 mm bullet — center console; .40-caliber cartridge case — driver’s side rear floorboard; lead bullet — passenger rear floorboard; copper bullet/fragment — rear passenger side seat; Glock box — trunk.
Items seized from the Honda included: white iPhone — driver’s seat; green leafy plant material — center console/cup holder; $1,140 in cash — center console; black Kyocera phone — door pocket, passenger side; black iPhone — passenger seat; brown bag with scale/baggies — center of back seat; “Taurus box — rear seat on passenger side SN: TLZ57993 BLACK 9MM.”