A UVa-Wise junior now faces a second-degree murder charge in the shooting death of an 18-year-old woman in his Norton mobile home the night before Thanksgiving.
A Wise County grand jury on Dec. 12 indicted Melquan Shabazz Huntley on the murder charge and a charge of using a firearm in the commission of a felony.
Huntley, 21, an administration of justice major and fullback on the Cavs football team, had previously been charged with involuntary manslaughter and two other felonies following the Nov. 21 incident.
Police have said Huntley was showing his 9mm Glock handgun to friends when it discharged, striking 18-year-old Jahnae Foster in the head.
Foster, a Big Stone Gap resident and the mother of an 8-month-old girl, was flown to Johnson City Medical Center and died a week later.
In statements to police and emails to The Highland Cavalier, Huntley said the shooting was an accident.
But Wise County Commonwealth’s Attorney Ron Elkins told The Coalfield Progress that investigators now believe Huntley acted with malice, a key part of second-degree murder. A person holding a firearm could be “angry, upset and displaying the weapon in an intimidating manner,” he told the newspaper, but declined to elaborate.
Huntley has been released from jail while he awaits trial. College spokeswoman Kathy Still said the fullback was suspended from the football team pending the outcome of his charges, and banned from campus during that interim suspension.
He has a plea hearing scheduled for Feb. 25, court records show.
— Junior charged in deadly shooting