Farm Fresh shooter to be held another year in psychiatric facility

Staff writer

Two years and two months after Brian Hicks was found not guilty by reason of insanity in a fatal shooting at the Norge Farm Fresh, his attorney and Williamsburg’s top prosecutor have agreed he should stay in custody for at least one more year.

Brian Alexander Hicks, 58, of Woodbridge, shot and killed Gabriel Maness, a 34-year-old Army veteran, while Maness tried to buy donuts for his then 5-year-old daughter and pregnant wife on April 17, 2016, according to court records and Virginia Gazette archives. Hicks was found not guilty by reason of insanity on May 2, 2017.

On Wednesday, Hick’s attorney, Brandon Waltrip, and Commonwealth’s Attorney Nate Green agreed to a court order that would require another review of Hick’s insanity in a year. Williamsburg-James City County Circuit Court Judge Michael E. McGinty set that review to occur on July 15, 2020.

While the defense, prosecutors and McGinty agreed during the trial that Hicks pulled the trigger, Hicks couldn’t be held legally culpable for shooting Maness, according to Virginia Gazette archives.

“Hicks appears to have been actively psychotic at the time …,” a mental health evaluation said in January 2017.

When McGinty handed down the verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity, Hicks was taken into the custody of the Department of Behavioral Health and Development Services, according to court records.

Hicks remains in state custody at a psychiatric hospital, but has been able to leave the hospital’s campus on supervised trips, Green said in April. Hicks will remain in custody until the court deems otherwise.

Steve Roberts Jr, srobertsjr@vagazette.com, 757-604-1329, @SPRobertsJr.

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