Murder and other charges against a Lynchburg man from an April shooting at the James Crossing apartments will proceed to a higher court, a judge decided Wednesday.
Ja’Quain Quintez Miller, 26, was naked in the woods near the apartments when police found him the afternoon of April 20, directed by witnesses after police responded to the shooting, according to testimony at Miller’s preliminary hearing in Lynchburg General District Court.
Once officers arrived in the area, they found 47-year-old Scottie Jerome Humbles lying next to a vehicle in the parking lot with several gunshot wounds to his face, Lynchburg Police Department Officer Javaz Williams said. Humbles, who was a maintenance worker at the apartments, was taken to Lynchburg General Hospital and died of his injuries.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Bethany Harrison played surveillance footage of the parking lot in court, which LPD Detective Chad Davis narrated, depicting Humbles following Miller in the parking lot and falling to the ground outside a parked car after an encounter with Miller.
Law enforcement officers testified Miller was taken into custody peacefully, but he appeared to be agitated and afraid, asking police repeatedly not to shoot and kill him and saying he wouldn’t do anything else bad. Williams said Miller was “emotionally amped up” and appeared to be on something, at one point asking if police had found his diamond earring.
Investigating the area, officers found a handgun and fanny pack with matching ammunition in a dumpster nearby, according to testimony. They also found sweatpants bearing the same logo as the fanny pack in a building near the dumpster, with Miller’s ID in a pocket.
Having been taken to the police station and given an emergency blanket to cover up, Miller refused an interview after being read his Miranda rights, Davis said, so Davis took a sample from his hands to test for gunshot residue.
Miller also was charged with two counts of assault and battery on law enforcement after a run-in with correctional officers Aug. 9.
One correctional officer testified he responded to Miller’s cell when Miller refused to let another inmate in. Telling Miller he’d need to move to another unit if he didn’t let the other inmate in, the officer said Miller dodged him when he went to grab Miller to physically move him, then moved into a “fighting stance.”
The corrections officer then said he sprayed Miller with pepper spray and Miller punched him in the face, later confronting another officer whom Miller punched repeatedly in the face before he was subdued. That other officer had to get stitches to the inner cheek, according to testimony.
Harrison dropped charges of indecent exposure and reckless handling of a firearm against Miller, leaving charges of second-degree murder, using a firearm in a felony, possessing a firearm as a violent felon plus two counts of assault and battery on law enforcement from the jail encounter.
General District Judge Stephanie Maddox certified all of those charges to the next meeting of a grand jury in Lynchburg, which is scheduled for Dec. 6.
Miller remains in the Lynchburg Adult Detention Center without bond.