James City home invasion suspect opts for jury trial

WILLIAMSBURG — One of four men accused in January home invasion in James City in which one man was shot elected to be tried by a jury last week in Circuit Court. If convicted, he could face more than four life sentences.

Christopher A. Williams, Jr., 22, is charged with statutory burglary, malicious wounding, three counts of robbery, three counts of abduction, and eight counts of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony related to the Jan. 4 incident at Lafayette Village.

Mike Gaten, assistant commonwealth attorney, said should Williams be found guilty and sentenced to the maximum for each charge, he could face four terms of life in prison plus 88 years. Gaten added that 38 of those years are mandatory under state law.

Around 9 p.m. on Jan. 4, James City police officers responded to the 100 block of Lafayette Boulevard for a report of a home invasion and shooting, according to a criminal complaint against Williams. Officers arrived to find a man with a gunshot wound to the neck, the complaint notes.

Four men, all wearing bandannas, entered the apartment with five people, ages 16-22, and two children inside, according to Maj. Stephen Rubino with James City police. The gunshot victim told police the suspects demanded money from the occupants as well as their phones.

One occupants reported that he was hit with a chair and knocked the ground, and a second said he was thrown to the ground, then punched and kicked, the complaint states. Two residents told police they were held at gunpoint, the document notes.

According to the complaint, a witness gave police the license plate number of the Ford Taurus in which the four men fled. Rubino said about a half hour later the car was located on Algonquin Trail and stopped by police at a 7-Eleven. Police found several blue bandannas between the front seats of the car, a revolver under the driver's seat and a shotgun in the trunk.

Two of the suspects, identified as Devonte J. Hayes and Marklin A, Mitchell, Jr., were in the vehicle when it was stopped, the complaint indicates. Williams and D'Andre A. Hardy were located behind a residence on Algonquin Trail, according to the document.

Hayes is charged with statutory burglary, malicious wounding, three counts of robbery, three counts of abduction, and eight counts of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. Hardy faces charges of robbery, statutory burglary, abduction and two counts of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. Mitchell is charged with robbery, statutory burglary, abduction and three counts of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.

Williams is scheduled for trial on Oct. 14-15. Trial dates for Hayes, Hardy and Mitchell have not been set.

Robertson can be reached at 757-345-2342.