Man found not guilty by reason of insanity in fatal James City Co. grocery store shooting

Posted at 12:52 PM, May 02, 2017

JAMES CITY COUNTY, Va. - The man accused of killing a customer inside of a grocery store in James City County was found not guilty by reason of insanity Tuesday.

A judge made the decision in a bench trial on Tuesday.

Brian Hicks is accused of shooting another man inside of a Farm Fresh in James City County

Police say Air Force retiree Brian Alexander Hicks, 55, shot and killed 34-year-old Gabriel Ryan Maness.

On April 17, 2016 at 8:05 a.m., police were called out to the Farm Fresh on 115 Norge Lane.

They say Hicks was armed with a .45 caliber handgun and had two other loaded magazines in his pocket.

Police say Maness was shopping in the store when Hicks shot him several times.

Hicks was charged with 2nd-degree murder and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.

Police said Hicks and the victim did not know each other and there didn't seem to be an argument before the shooting.

When Hicks spoke to News 3 in April 2016, he said God told him to commit the crime.

A judge ruled today that the interview with News 3, along with the testimony from two doctors and Hicks' employers, who described his bizarre behavior days before the shooting, showed that he could not be held legally accountable for his actions.

According to testimony, Hicks battled depression for years which led to hospitalization three times. He also attempted suicide.

A doctor testified that she diagnosed Hicks with bipolar disorder with psychiatric features.

A judge ordered Hicks to get an evaluation.

On June 20th, the Commonwealth and defense will meet again to discuss the next steps for him.

Hicks was due in court for a case review on July 18, but it was continued until July 17, 2019. He's currently at Northern Virginia Mental Health Institute.


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