By Shawn Nowlin firstname.lastname@example.org
A Christiansburg man who fatally shot Bedford resident Rico Turner in November 2020 inside the Lakeside Plaza Kroger parking lot was recently sentenced to 26 years in prison.
Fifteen months ago, at approximately 2 p.m. on November 9, police dispatch received a call concerning a man being shot at the Salem shopping center. Turner, 27, was with his fiancé Emily Christian and children at the time when Zane Christian, the estranged husband, struck him with gunfire. Immediately transported to a hospital with life-threatening injuries, Turner later died that night.
Minutes before the shooting, some people in the parking lot mentioned they heard some commotion. Said one woman who asked for anonymity, “I didn’t see the whole ordeal, but it was clear that the two men were arguing. Everything happened so fast. My heart breaks for his fiancé and their children. What a completely senseless act of violence.”
As a consequence of Turner’s death, Christian was charged by the Salem Police Department with malicious wounding, felony murder, three counts of child neglect and reckless handling of a firearm.
The Salem Police Department worked with the Blacksburg Police Department due to a connection between Christian and a Blacksburg carjacking that same day. Less than 24 hours later, with assistance from the U.S. Marshalls Task Force, Christian was arrested in Ravenswood, West Virginia, without incident.
On October 13, 2021, Christian appeared in Salem Circuit Court and entered pleas of no contest to two counts of shooting into an occupied vehicle, second-degree murder and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.
Four months later, in that same circuit court, Christian was sentenced to 26 years of a possible 43, in addition to ten years of probation.
The following charges explain why he will spend the next 312 months in prison:
- One felony count of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony (first offense):
- Sentenced to three years
- One felony count of second-degree murder:
- Sentenced to 30 years with nine years suspended, for a total of 21 years
- Two felony counts of shooting into an occupied vehicle:
- Sentenced to five years with four years suspended for each count, for a total of two years
Many people, such as Alex Anderson, want Christian to spend the of his life behind bars. “He not only changed his life forever; but he did the same for his children too. Arguments happen every single day, but there is no reason to end another person’s life over a disagreement. This tragedy could have been prevented.”