HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- The trial for a Henrico Police officer who was charged with killing a man on Interstate 64 over a year ago began on Monday.
Two women who stopped to help after seeing a car flip multiple times on I-64 on November 6, 2021, testified Monday that the driver appeared drunk or on drugs, had a knife in his waistband and wanted to drive back into traffic after the crash.
"I didn't want him to put anyone else's life in jeopardy," said Barbara Rowe, one of the two women who tried to take the driver's keys out of the ignition.
The second woman, Ashley Stallings, testified "I felt like he was a ticking time bomb," about the driver.
That driver — Tony Singleton — would end up dead after being shot by Henrico Police Officer Timothy Million III, who responded to the scene of the crash.
Million was charged with voluntary manslaughter after a special grand jury determined enough evidence existed to indict him. On Monday, his trial began.
A jury was seated just before noon.
Henrico County Commonwealth's Attorney Shannon Taylor told the jury that Officer Million's actions were not reasonable that night. She argued that Million seeing a knife handle in Singleton's waistband did not justify him pulling a gun and firing it multiple times.
Taylor said even after Singleton fell to the ground, Million fired two more times.
But Million's attorney, Peter Baruch, told the jury Million saw metal in Singleton's waistband and saw him reach in that direction. Baruch said Officer Million believed Singleton had a gun and thought he was going to shoot him.
Baruch said using deadly force was the "only choice" Million had.
The Commonwealth called several witnesses on Monday, including the two women who stopped to help, a driver who witnessed the officer shoot Singleton, the head of the Henrico 911 Call Center and a woman who did a ride-along with Million the night of the incident.
A 911 call was played and the jury could hear the dispatcher tell Million "he's got a knife in the front of his pants."
Luna Rodriguez testified that she met Million at the synagogue where she worked and got to know him because "a lot of stuff was happening with the police at the time."
She said Million offered her the opportunity to do a ride-along with him.
Rodriguez said when Million got out of the car to respond to the crash, she heard him tell the driver "let me see your hands," but the driver did not comply and instead searched the center console for something.
Rodriguez said Singleton did eventually get out of the car and put his hands on his chest.
She said he appeared to be stroking his chest and looked "out of it."
Rodriguez said the driver took four steps toward Million and they got into a physical "tussle," before Million drew his gun and shot him.
She said she never saw anything in the driver's hands, and she never saw the knife.