LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ7) -- UPDATE: An 18-year-old who was convicted of unlawful wounding for a shooting that killed a high school senior, but found not guilty of several more charges, has been released from jail.
Family photos of Dre'yon Browley (L) and Justin Barnett (R)
Austin Rozdilski’s sentencing was set for March 18. But due to an emergency judicial order to minimize court hearings to reduce the risk of spread of the COVID-19 virus, the sentencing was to be rescheduled.
The same day sentencing was set, Rozdilski turned 18 years old. He was housed at the Lynchburg Juvenile Detention Center, but once a juvenile turns 18, he must be sent to the adult jail or released from juvenile detention. A bond hearing was held Wednesday to determine Rozdilski’s placement.
Prosecutors objected, but the court ordered Rozdilski to be released on a $5000 unsecured bond. That came with the condition that he live at home with his parents, he cannot leave the home, and the parents must remove all firearms from the home.
ORIGINAL STORY: A 17-year-old has been found not guilty of second-degree murder, not guilty of use of a firearm in commission of murder, and not guilty of use of firearms in commission of malicious wounding. He was being tried for the shootings of two EC Glass High School students, one of whom died.
Austin Rozdilski, however, was found guilty of unlawful wounding.
Lynchburg Commonwealth's Attorney Bethany Harrison released the following statement regarding the ruling:
"The not guilty verdict on the charge of murder combined with the jury reducing the other charge of malicious wounding to unlawful wounding leads us to believe the jury found Rozdilski actions against Browley and Barnett were done in self defense. While this result is disappointing, I know that Senior Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorneys Janell Johnson and Jennifer Bennett prepared for months for this trial and fought hard to hold Rozdilski accountable for taking the life of one young adult and severely injuring another."
Rozdilski was facing four felony charges, including second-degree murder.
In May 2019, Lynchburg Police were called to the Meadows apartments for reports of shots fired. Officers found Dre'yon Browley, known as "Bigs", and Justin Barnett, known as "JB", suffering from gunshot wounds. The two were seniors at EC Glass High School.
Barnett was shot in the buttocks and spent several weeks recovering in a hospital. Browley was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital.
He was just weeks from graduating.
Rozdilski, a former Brookville High School student, was tried as an adult.
The prosecution argued the Campbell County teen was guilty of murdering Browley, based on witness testimony. They say it happened during a gun sale, when Rozdilski was looking to buy a gun from Browley and Barnett.
The defense says Rozdilski shot Browley because he was acting in self-defense during what they described as an "elaborate robbery."
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