CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — A district judge certified the charges against Johnathan Cromwell Tuesday. The case now moving to Circuit Court.
The 21-year-old is charged with second-degree murder in the death of 60-year-old Jiansheng Chen in the River Walk Community back in January.
On Tuesday, a crowded courtroom waited for Cromwell. The security guard walked in shackled and handcuffed. His family sat on one side. Across the aisle, Chen’s family and supporters packed in for the hearing.
“American justice system is a long process. We believe that, in the end, that justice will prevail,” family friend Star Chen said.
Defense attorneys for Cromwell maintain that he acted in self-defense. Cromwell admits he shot Chen, but his lawyer says he was only doing his job and he thought Chen was going to kill him.
The Commonwealth argues it wasn’t self defense, it was murder. Prosecutors say Cromwell shot Chen while he was driving. They said Cromwell’s life was never in danger because his first shots came through the driver’s side window. Then, he moved in front of Chen’s van and shot five more times.
Cromwell’s attorney said there’s no evidence of the shots through the driver’s side. He argued Cromwell thought Chen was going to run him over. He asked a judge to strike the charges. The judge overruled and sent the case to Circuit Court.
Cromwell went back to jail. Afterwards, his family huddled together. They had no comment.