After a jury verdict finding a Lynchburg teen guilty of unlawful wounding in connection with the shooting of two E.C. Glass students was thrown out earlier this week, prosecutors are abandoning pursuing criminal charges against him.
Austin Daniel Rozdilski, 19, initially was charged with murder in the death of Dre’yon “Biggs” Browley and malicious wounding of Justin “JB” Barnett in May 2019, along with two firearms charges. The jury in his case returned one conviction at the close of his December 2020 trial — a downgraded charge of unlawful wounding.
New evidence that emerged during the summer backed defense arguments that Barnett was armed at the time of the incident, his attorney, Joseph Sanzone, argued Wednesday, lending credence to claims Rozdilski acted in self-defense and Barnett might have perjured himself on the stand.
Considering that new evidence before judgment and sentencing for Rozdilski was declared, Lynchburg Circuit Judge F. Patrick Yeatts granted a motion Wednesday to throw out the jury conviction.
Lynchburg Commonwealth’s Attorney Bethany Harrison said in a news release Friday her office reached out to Barnett’s family following the judge’s decision and “Barnett made it clear that he does not want to pursue this matter further.”
Her office could not charge Rozdilski again on the charges of murder and firearms offenses after he was found not guilty; it only could pursue another trial on a charge of unlawful wounding.
Harrison said she made a motion Friday to drop his remaining charge.