UPDATE (WFXR) — The Jury reached a verdict Tuesday night in the trial of Austin Rozdilski.
Rozdilski was found guilty of one count of unlawful wounding.
The jury found him not guilty of 2nd degree murder and not guilty of 2 counts of use of a firearm in commission of a felony.
LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — The trial of Austin Rozdilski continues today in Lynchburg.
The trial began Monday, Dec. 9. Rozdilski is accused of shooting two E.C. Glass High School seniors last spring. One of the students, 18-year-old Dre’yon Browley, later died.
UPDATE: 7:50 P.M.: Out of everyone who testified on Tuesday, the two key witnesses were the defendant and the surviving victim. Both teens took the stand today and gave their own accounts of what happened that night.
According to Rozdilski, he connected with Justin Barnett over Snapchat.
Barnett, or JB, was going to sell him a fully automatic gun.
Austin says he saw two guns on the victims when they met up.
Austin claims the meeting was a setup to rob him. He fought with Dre’yon Browley, also known as Biggs, and shot Biggs twice.
JB was a distance away at this point. Austin says JB turned towards him, and he shot JB, claiming self defense saying, “He looked like he was surprised to see me standing and not Biggs.”
Meanwhile, the prosecution is arguing that Austin shot out of anger, after learning that JB did not have a gun to sell.
Police did not find guns at the scene.
Prosecutors say Austin was aware of his actions and had malicious intent, citing two gunshot wounds in different parts of Biggs’s body and that Austin was able to aim for JB, who was running away.
JB says he took off when Austin first shot Biggs saying quote, “I heard two more shots, then I was on the ground…Once I was on the ground I tried to crawl back to Biggs.”
UPDATE 1:09 P.M.: Prosecutors rested their case at 12:25 p.m., after lengthy testimony from Justin “JB” Barnett, the survivor of the May 16 shooting.
Barnett suffered a gunshot wound to the right side of his rear end. Dre’yon Browley, who Barnett described as his best friend since age eight, suffered gunshot wounds to his chin and abdomen, according to the medical examiner, and was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Barnett testified that he had not met Austin Rozdilski before May 16, but that a mutual friend connected them via the social media app Snapchat, after Rozdilski began inquiring about buying a fully automatic handgun.
Barnett told the court that he did not have such a gun, but offered to sell Rozdilski one for $500. He said he had planned to aquire one to sell but did not have the time.
Barnett said he told Rozdilski to meet at the Meadows apartment complex. He said when he and Browley met Rozdilski, they informed the defendent that they did not have a gun to sell. He then told the court that Browley and Rozdilski had a verbal argument before Browley punched Rozdilski.
Barnett said Rozdilski did not fall to the ground, but he lifted up his shirt, and Barnett said he saw a gun.
He said he then tried to break up the fight by physically holding back his friend.
Barnett said Rozdilski then shot Browley, and Barnett ran.
“I heard two more shots, then I was on the ground,” he said.
Barnett suffered a gunshot wound to the right side of his rear end.
“Once I was on the ground, I tried to crawl back to get to Biggs.”
“Biggs” was Browley’s nickname.
Barnett spent 17 days in the hospital and went through multiple surgeries, including two abdominal surgeries and two fasciotomies, incisions down both legs to reduce swelling and save the limbs.
Originally in the hospital, Barnett told investigator Todd Barley that he had been shot walking to his mom’s home in the Meadows apartment complex, not mentioning Austin Rozdilski.
“I didn’t know who he was,” said Barnett. “I didn’t trust him.”
Barnett said that at the time, he did not know Browley had died.
When asked why he is now complying with the investigation, Barnett said, “I want justice for my brother.”
Jessica Taylor, a forensic nurse examiner, took photos of Barnett’s injuries, including bruises and abrasions on his right hand.
Rozdilski’s defense attorney suggested the bruises may have been caused by a gun in Barnett’s hand, though Taylor said there were no measurements taken of Barnett’s hand at the time, and gun sizes vary, making it difficult to judge his assertion.
Multiple police officers testified earlier in the day on Tuesday that they did not see a gun at the scene of the shooting. One officer testified that he found a gun in a blue Honda at the defendant’s home in Campbell County.
Court will resume at 1:30 p.m., with at least one more witness the defense is calling.
UPDATE 12:48 P.M.: Testimony continued in day two of Austin Rozdilski’s trial in the shooting death of Dre-yon Browley. Rozdilski is charged with second-degree murder.
Justin Barnett survived the shooting and took the witness stand around 11:15 a.m.
“We’ve been friends since we were young,” Barnett testified, noting that he and Browley met when they were eight-years-old.
Prior to the May 2019 shooting, Barnett said he had never met Rozdilski. Barnett testified that a friend from school told him Rozdilski wanted to buy a gun, so Barnett told the friend to have Rozdilski Snapchat him.
ORIGINAL STORY: Jury selection began late yesterday morning as prosecutors were trying to locate a key witness to the shooting. Once the witness was found, court resumed and jury selection began. The jury was seated around 4 p.m. yesterday. It consists of four men and eight women.
Opening statements from the prosecution and defense teams presented their cases. The defense’s opening statement said Rozdilski was the victim of a robbery at gunpoint and acted in self-defense. Prosecutors said the shooting was not justified, noting that one victim was shot in the buttocks while trying to run away and neither victim had a gun.
Stay with WFXRtv.com for updates on day two of the Rozdilski trial throughout the day.
- Central Virginia Forecast
- Roanoke Valley Forecast
- Southside Virginia Forecast
- New River Valley Forecast
- Alleghany Highlands Forecast