An off-duty Arlington sheriff's deputy is facing murder charges now that a General District Court judge has certified the case to a grand jury.
Heads turned when one of the benches in the spectator area of the coatroom unexpectedly collapsed during the hearing today, a nervous moment in a tense hearing at a packed courthouse today. The highlight of the case was when prosecutors played the 911 tape in which 44-year-old Craig Patterson, an off-duty Arlington sheriff's deputy, said he shot 22-year-old Julian Dawkins after the younger man threatened him with a knife.
Defense attorneys tried to paint a picture of an off-duty law enforcement officer who was protecting himself from an intoxicated young man wielding a knife. Prosecutors presented evidence that the knife was closed and attached to Dawkin' jeans after he died, so that the younger man could not have been threatening the older man when the fatal shot was fired.
That means the murder trial later this year will focus on whether or not Patterson acted in self-defense when he shot and killed Dawkins.
A slate of new legislation has received an endorsement by the Virginia State Crime Commission that they say would give law enforcement more tools to investigate and prosecute child abuse.