Trial date set for Richmond man arrested in graduation day shooting

Deadly shooting after high school graduation in Richmond, Virginia.
Posted at 3:55 PM, Aug 24, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-24 16:57:29-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- A trial date was set for the person accused of opening fire outside the Huguenot High School graduation at the Altria Theater in June.

In a brief hearing Thursday afternoon in Richmond Circuit Court, a judge signed off on a five-day jury trial for Amari Pollard set to begin on Feb. 26, 2024.

Pollard faces one first-degree murder charge and use of a firearm charge related to the death of Huguenot High School graduate Shawn Jackson.

The judge commented he didn't think the trial would need five days.

The two sides also agreed to the motion for sharing evidence and deadlines associated with that.

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Pollard initially faced a second-degree murder charge for Jackson's death and of Jackson's stepfather Renzo Smith, but prosecutors did not pursue further charges related to Smith upon further review of the evidence.

No one has ever been charged in relation to the people injured in the graduation shooting and investigators have never publicly accounted for the owners of the four guns recovered from the scene -- tying only one to Pollard and another to someone not involved in the shooting.

As the criminal investigation into the shooting progresses, the wheels are in motion for a third-party investigation into the school's policies and protocols leading up to the shooting. The move was approved by the Richmond School Board last week and Richmond Schools Superintendent Jason Kamras, who is tasked with giving them options for the investigator, said he supported the decision.

"I welcome it. The more eyes on this, the better," Kamras said. "I am the first one to say as much information as we can possibly get the better. Because, look, at the end of the day we aren't perfect, and if we made mistakes we've got to fix them and be better the next time for our kids."

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The judge in Pollard's case told the two sides he wanted to hold monthly status hearings to make sure the trial would not be delayed.

The first hearing was scheduled for Sept. 29.

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