UVA shooting suspect Christopher Darnell Jones makes first court appearance, prior criminal record revealed

Christopher Darnell Jones, Jr., the former University of Virginia football player charged with murdering three of his former teammates on a charter bus after returning from a school trip, made his first court appearance on Wednesday after being slapped with additional charges in relation to the two surviving victims.

A day before his 23rd birthday, Jones made his first court appearance via video link in Albemarle County.

The court ordered him in custody without bail.

Wednesday was not an arraignment, as no plea was entered. Jones’ criminal history was brought to court – charges from 2021 including concealed weapons, reckless driving. These sentences have been suspended.


Jones was initially charged with three counts of second-degree murder in connection with the deaths of active UVA football players Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis and D’Sean Perry, as well as three counts of using a handgun in the commission of a crime. On Tuesday, two more malicious injury counts were added involving the surviving victims, UVA football player Michael Hollins Jr. and sophomore Marlee Morgan.

Jones indicated that he intended to hire an attorney, and in the meantime the court appointed the Public Defender’s Office to represent him.

After the court appearance on Wednesday, Albemarle County attorney James M. Hingeley spoke briefly to the media but declined to discuss the facts of the case, saying he wanted the accused has a fair trial, without prejudicial publicity before the trial. He also noted that the investigation is still ongoing.

Jones was arrested on February 22, 2021 in Chesterfield County, Virginia for a concealed weapons violation. He was convicted in that case on June 10, 2021. At the time of his arrest, there were outstanding warrants for hit-and-run and property damage and reckless driving in Petersburg County.

The case was heard in Petersburg County on October 28, 2021, and Jones was sentenced to 12 months. But the sentences for the two cases, from two separate jurisdictions, have been suspended, the prosecutor said.

At an athletic department press conference on Tuesday, University of Virginia head football coach Tony Elliot mourned the loss of “three beautiful young human beings who had incredible futures ahead of them.” .

The team hasn’t practiced in two days and UVA’s game against Coastal Carolina scheduled for this weekend has since been canceled.

UVA football player Michael Hollins Jr. is one of two surviving victims of a shooting that also killed three of his teammates.
(Credit: Virginia Cavaliers Official Athletics Site)

Hollins was initially listed in critical condition and was intubated Monday evening. He underwent a second surgery Tuesday, was taken off a ventilator and is doing well, according to Baton Rouge attorney Gordon McKernan.

McKernan spoke to Sports Illustrated on behalf of the family. Hollins’ mother, Brenda, has worked for her law firm for seven years, and McKernan’s son played basketball and football with Hollins in high school.

“It’s been tough,” McKernan said. “He’s what you want your son to be. He’s that guy. He’s been with us so much. We’ve been on trips with them. He’s polite, respectful, smart. He’s driven, tenacious and persistent.”

A prosecutor identified the fifth victim for the first time on Tuesday as Morgan.

She was reportedly hospitalized in good condition on Monday and released on Tuesday. A LinkedIn profile with her name says she is studying finance and financial management services at the University of Virginia. From Houston, Texas, she is also an intern for Lighthouse Midstream Services, according to the profile.

Jones’ first court appearance, originally scheduled for Tuesday, has been pushed back a day.


The shooting erupted in a chartered bus in an on-campus parking garage before 10:30 p.m. Sunday night as students returned from a field trip to see a play in Washington, DC.

University of Virginia athletic director Carla Williams, left, and head football coach Tony Elliott, right, speak to the media during a news conference regarding the killing of three players from football as well as the injury of two others at the University of Virginia on Tuesday Nov. 15. 2022, in Charlottesville.

University of Virginia athletic director Carla Williams, left, and head football coach Tony Elliott, right, speak to the media during a news conference regarding the killing of three players from football as well as the injury of two others at the University of Virginia on Tuesday Nov. 15. 2022, in Charlottesville.
(AP Photo/Steve Helber)

A shelter-in-place order was extended by approximately 12 hours as law enforcement conducted an exhaustive, building-by-building search for Jones. The order was lifted as the manhunt continued, even though police were convinced Jones had left the Charlottesville campus. He was apprehended around 11 a.m. in Henrico, Virginia.

During a press conference on Monday, UVA President Jim Ryan said investigators do not yet have a “full understanding” of the motive or circumstances surrounding the shooting.

University Police Chief Timothy Longo Sr. said Jones had previously been investigated for the hazing, but the investigation was ‘eventually closed due to uncooperative witnesses. with the process”.

Jones had also been on radar for the UVA Threat Assessment Team regarding a suspected criminal incident involving a weapons violation that occurred outside of Charlottesville, Longo said. He was facing administrative costs for failing to report the matter to the university, as is the case for all UVA students.

The UVA football website says Jones was a member of the team during the 2018 season, but did not play in any games. Jones hadn’t been on the team for over a year. He was a walk-on and on the team for a semester.


When asked if the hazing incident was related to the football team on Tuesday, UVA Director of Athletics Carla Williams said she was unaware of it and that she had no details beyond what police said on Monday.

Jones’ father told local media he thought his son was being harassed and becoming paranoid.

Fox News’ Kim Wagner contributed to this report.


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