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LUNENBURG – After an initial Grand Jury failed to return a True Bill, Jason Lee was indicted last Thursday on the charge of First Degree Murder by the Multi-Jurisdiction Grand Jury that includes Lunenburg County.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Robert Clement said he presented the indictment in this fashion rather than waiting until August 1st for the next regular grand jury so they did not lose the trial date of July 26 and 27 already selected by the attorneys and the court for a jury trial.
This followed a rejection of the indictment by the regular grand jury of Lunenburg on June 6, 2016. State law allows the indictment to be presented again while the defendant remained in jail. “The rejection on June 6th was an aberration,” said Clement. “I felt confident that it would not happen again.”
The procedure for a Multi-Jurisdiction Grand Jury was established by statute in 1983 to allow one grand jury to sit for a number of counties and/or cities to consider criminal investigations for certain serious crimes, including murder, and is often used to require witnesses to testify under oath with their testimony being preserved by a court reporter, said Clement.
Sgt. Aaron Peter of the Kenbridge Police Department testified to the grand jury in Halifax. Clement said the grand jury of nine men and women, including two Lunenburg County residents, unanimously returned the true bill in less than ten minutes.
Lee was arrested following an incident on Thursday, March 17, when he allegedly killed Jamel Williams in Kenbridge along Center Street. The first grand jury was made up of four men and two women and there may have been some confusion stemming from legal concepts for which the group did not ask for legal assistance on.
Lunenburg County Commonwealth’s Attorney Robert Clement had noted earlier that the first degree murder charge had already been certified by a General District Judge prior to the grand jury being called.
Eyewitnesses came forward during the original incident and identified Lee as the man who killed Williams at the Kenbridge location. Lee remains in jail as the trial is set to begin next month.