UPDATED 4:30 pm Friday – From the Amherst County Sheriff’s Office: The office continues the investigation of a home invasion that resulted in a homicide at 140 Martins Lane Madison Heights Va. Investigators continue to interview people, and review evidence collected. It has been determined that this invasion was a targeted event and a suspect has been identified. This person is currently incarcerated on unrelated charges. Anyone with any information is urged to contact the Amherst Sheriff’s Office at 946-9381, or to call Crime Stoppers. Anyone that has any information is urged to call Crime Stoppers at 1-888-798-5900. Crime Stoppers will pay up to $1,000 for information regarding this crime. All information is totally confidential.
Previously: The Amherst County Sheriff’s Office says an 81-year-old woman is dead, her 63-year-old son critically injured, after an overnight home invasion and assault in Madison Heights. Deputies were called to Martins Lane around 2:00 a.m. Norma Jean Freeman was killed, and at last word, her son Allen Freeman is under treatment at Lynchburg General Hospital. Officials say both victims were in bed when their home was broken into, and both were subject to blunt force trauma, although it is unknown right know what weapon was used. Investigators say there is no known motive, and they believe at this point the assault was random. Anyone who might have any information regarding this crime is asked to call the Amherst County Sheriff’s Office at (434) 946-9300.
Nelson County prosecutors say there is no DNA link between Jesse Matthew and the disappearance of Alexis Murphy. The attorney for Murphy’s convicted killer, Randy Taylor, had speculated that Matthew may be connected to the Murphy case, but officials say Matthew’s DNA does not match any found in Alexis Murphy’s car. Matthew is charged with abducting Hannah Graham in Charlottesville.
Many school districts in the region are sending students home early today, with rain, snow and sleet all in the afternoon forecast. Counties north and west of Lynchburg are under a winter weather advisory that goes into effect at 2:00 pm.
Click here for the latest list of school announcements.
The Humane Society of the United States accuses the Natural Bridge Zoo of abuse and neglect, leading to the deaths of a giraffe and other animals. Click here to see our earlier story. The zoo owner calls the accusations “slanderous”. WLNI’s Evan Jones has the story.
Click here to see the the Human Society of the United States report and video.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Federal prosecutors say former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell’s appeal of his corruption convictions isn’t strong enough to allow him to remain free on bail while he appeals. McDonnell is asking the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse a judge’s decision denying bail. In a response filed late Wednesday, prosecutors said McDonnell’s claim that the judge defined an “official act” too broadly isn’t likely to result in a reversal of his convictions. A jury last year found McDonnell and his wife Maureen guilty of taking gifts and loans from a vitamin executive in exchange for promoting his products. Bob McDonnell is scheduled to begin his two-year prison term Feb. 9. Maureen McDonnell will be sentenced Feb. 20.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Virginia lawmakers are far from consensus on legislation dealing with sexual assault on college and university campuses. That was apparent at the end of a two-hour hearing Thursday by a Senate subcommittee wrestling with the issue. The panel considered 10 bills, but was unable to reach any conclusions. The flurry of legislation was spurred by several recent high-profile cases of alleged sex crimes on Virginia campuses. Most controversial was the concept of mandatory reporting. Some of the measures would require university employees who become aware of an alleged sexual assault to report it to a law enforcement agency within 24 or 48 hours. Failure to do so would be a misdemeanor. Several witnesses warned that such a mandate would discourage victims from reporting assaults at all.