UPDATE: Jury recommends 4 years after Dabney found guilty of voluntary manslaughter

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UPDATE 5:34 P.M.: — A jury in Lynchburg convicted Tyler Dabney of voluntary manslaughter today for the November 2018 shooting death of Ben Friar.

That’s a lesser version of the second degree murder charge he was facing.

“I’m just real shaky,” said Dabney’s mother Brandi Drew. “I’m relieved that it wasn’t second degree, because my son is not a murderer. I’m upset that it was anything, because I just feel that he did what he had to do in the situation he was in.”

During the trial, Dabney claimed self defense. Multiple witnesses testified that friar refused to leave Dabney and his sister’s apartment several times before a fight broke out and escalated to a fatal gunshot.

“I appreciate my brother, him doing that,” said Aaliyah Dabney, Tyler’s sister, who witnessed the shooting. “He was the only male in there and it was only females, and he did what any male would do.”

The maximum sentence was 10 years, but the jury recommended four.

“Nobody wins in this situation,” said Jennifer Bennett, the Senior Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney, who prosecuted the case. “Absolutely nobody wins. We’ve got two mothers who are grieving. We’ve got one mom’s grieving because she doesn’t have her son anymore, and another mom is grieving because her son is incarcerated.”

We weren’t able to speak with Friar’s family, but Bennett described how they are feeling.

“Conflicted,” she said. “I think that they were ready to accept whatever happened here today, that they also understand. A family member of Tyler’s approached them on the way out of the courtroom and gave them a hug.”

Aaliyah called Friar a friend. Tyler apologized to the Friar family during the sentencing hearing.

“I’m so sorry for their loss,” said Drew. “Nobody wants to bury a child, I know, but my son apologizes as well. He even wrote a letter to them that they haven’t been able to receive yet, but he wrote a letter to them not long after it happened to them apologizing.”

UPDATE 3:45 P.M.: — The members of the jury recommended a sentence of four years for Tyler Dabney after he was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter.

Dabney’s final sentencing is scheduled for April 22.

UPDATE 1:08 P.M.: –Tyler Dabney was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter for the 2018 killing of Ben Friar.

Dabney originally faced a charge of second-degree murder. He was also found not guilty for the use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.

The court has recessed and will return at 2 p.m. for sentencing.


LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — The jury began deliberating shortly before noon in the trial of Tyler Dabney, the Lynchburg man accused of 2nd degree murder for the 2018 death of Ben Friar.

The trial began Tuesday in Lynchburg Circuit Court and continued Wednesday morning.

Dabney’s defense attorney argued self-defense, saying Dabney tried multiple times to get Friar to leave his home before escalating their confrontation to a physical confrontation, a warning shot, and finally two gunshots that hit Friar, one of which, the medical examiner testified, was fatal.

Several witnesses testified that Dabney tried repeatedly to get Friar to leave his home.

Prosecutors in the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office said the witness testimony does not match the medical examiner’s report. The witnesses said Dabney and Friar fought face-to-face, but the medical examiner said the fatal gunshot entered’s Friar’s back.

This is a developing story.


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