Jessica Ewing, the woman accused of killing Virginia Tech student Samanata Shrestha earlier this year, is now facing more serious charges.
On July 22 a grand jury indicted Ewing for first-degree murder – a charge that carries a sentence of 20 years to life in prison. She is also charged with transporting or concealing a dead body, which carries a sentence of up to five years in prison.
Ewing was originally charged with second-degree murder. The difference between murder in the first degree and murder in the second degree is whether or not the killing was premeditated, according to Montgomery County Commonwealth’s Attorney Mary Pettitt.
Pettitt said Ewing’s second-degree murder charge has been dropped since she is now charged with a more serious offense.
Ewing is still in jail. Her next hearing is August 4. A trial date has not been set at this time.
In February, Samanata Shrestha's body was found inside her car in Blacksburg. She was 21 years old and a biology major at Virginia Tech.
Keifer Brown, who appeared in court last month, has also been charged in this case. Brown is accused of helping move Shrestha's body.