Suspect waives preliminary hearing in road-rage incident

PITTSYLVANIA COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ7)-- A local man has waived his right to a preliminary hearing, and his case will now be heard by a grand jury.

James Hooper III waived his right to a preliminary hearing on Monday in a shooting linked to a road-rage incident in Pittsylvania county.

Hooper, 46, is charged with first degree murder. He's accused of killing Jacob Steele Robertson, 27, at a gas station yesterday after an argument on the highway.

According to an arrest warrant, Robertson and Hooper got into an argument while driving on Route 29. Both cars pulled over at the Circle K convenience store and gas station in Blairs.

Moments later, Robertson was dead.

In the arrest warrant, deputies wrote that Hooper acknowledged pulling into the pump to confront Robertson about, “why he ran him off the roadway.”

Hooper has a violent criminal history that includes a guilty plea to assault and battery charges in Danville. He also has a criminal history out of North Carolina. According to a Caswell County clerk, Hooper pleaded guilty to robbery in 2003 in a case where one man was shot and killed.

Pittsylvania County deputies said Hooper was not supposed to have a gun. He was also charged with one felony count of using a firearm in the commission of a murder and one felony count of possession of a firearm by a violent felon.