This story has certainly grabbed your attention. I’ve gotten a lot of emails, phone calls and comments from you wanting to know more. Today, we have some new information that can shed some more light on what happened last week on Leigh Street.
First, Eric Driver was released from jail today on a $30,000 bond. We were there when he left the city jail. This is one of the more difficult parts of the job. He hid his face and did not want to talk to us, (and who can blame him) he was in jail for the last four days. Still.. it’s my job to ask for his side of the story.
Normally on second degree murder charges the defendent does not get a bond. The Commonwealth’s Attorneys office agreed to the bond today, saying it did not believe Driver was a threat to public safety.
Now to the facts… We know the man who was killed did NOT have a gun. But Driver’s attorney will try to prove that fact does not matter. He says Driver feared for his life and was not protecting his girlfriend’s vehicle. Commonwealth’s Attorney Michael Herring says in Virginia lethal force is not allowed when protecting property. He says Driver was charged because of an “over-reaction” not a justified reaction.
We learned today, the car had been broken into that morning. They spent part of the day moving the car around the neighborhood to keep others from breaking in. Driver and his girlfriend went to class and returned home around 3:00. Driver’s attorney says the girlfriend was leaving to get the car fixed when she walked outside and saw a man with a mask sitting in her car. She screamed. Driver came running. What happened next will come out in court.
Many of you have asked my opinion on this story, but as a journalist I try not weigh in on events. There are times when I will. But on a case like this that I will be covering for several months, I’d rather lay out the facts and let you decide. This case will ultimately be decided by a jury of Driver’s peers.