Accomack man guilty of brutal murder could get 35 years in Prison

Jury finds Michael Press guilty of murder Jan. 13, 2016. (WAVY/Joel Hilton)

ACCOMAC, Va. (WAVY)– The murder trial for a man accused of killing a well-known school bus driver ended Wednesday in a guilty verdict on the Eastern Shore.

A jury found Michael Press guilty of first degree murder. Court testimony said that Press killed 61-year-old Leon Harmon Jr. in November 2014. Harmon Jr. drove school buses for Accomack County for 40 years.

On Wednesday night, Press received a recommendation from the jury for a 35-year prison sentence and a $35,000 fine.

Witnesses said they saw Press riding in Harmon Jr’s truck that night. During the trial a man testified to seeing Press outside his own home brutally beating Harmon Jr. The same witness saw Press driving Harmon Jr. home in Harmon Jr.’s own truck and leaving him there. That’s where police found the body.

Gary Agar, the Commonwealth’;s Attorney, said the wounds were so severe a medical examiner couldn’t figure out which cuts were caused by a knife and which were caused by a blunt object.

Press claimed self-defense for the attack. A judge will review the jury’s sentencing recommendation later on this month.

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