NELSON COUNTY — An Arrington teenager charged with attempted murder and other offenses following his July 14 arrest is scheduled to be tried as an adult Nov. 14 in Nelson Circuit Court.
Ti’lor Lewis Harper, 16, is charged with attempted murder, attempted armed robbery, shooting into an occupied vehicle, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, and felony extortion in writing.
On the morning of July 15, the Nelson County Sheriff’s Office released a statement on its Facebook page saying the office had received a call at about 4 p.m. July 14 to investigate a report of shots fired in Shipman — in the 11000 Block of James River Road, about three miles from its intersection with U.S. 29.
“The suspect is a juvenile and we are unable to publicize their identity,” the post said.
Minutes later, the sheriff’s office posted a photograph of Harper, asking for assistance locating the missing juvenile said to have been last seen in Arrington.
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“If located, please do not approach and call 911 immediately,” the post cautioned. It was updated at noon that day to report the juvenile had been safely located.
Later in the day the sheriff’s office updated its first post to report that a juvenile suspect was taken into custody, and listed the aforementioned charges.
In a Nov. 2 phone interview, Harper’s defense attorney, Chuck Felmlee, said Harper is being tried as an adult due to a “combination of factors,” one of which is the severity of the charges.
Felmlee said a juvenile and domestic relations judge certified Harper’s charges to Nelson Circuit Court at a hearing in September. However, he said, Circuit Judge Michael Doucette has the ability to have Harper tried as an adult or as a juvenile after hearing his case.
In a phone interview Nov. 2, Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Will Flory confirmed the charges against Harper but declined to give additional details about the case.
Sheriff David Hill also declined to provide further details when reached for comment.
A reporter’s request to the Nelson Circuit Court Clerk’s Office for access to Harper’s case file was denied Nov. 3 due to the defendant’s age. Circuit Court Clerk Lisa Bryant said a special hearing would be scheduled with prosecutors and defense attorneys to discuss the details of the case because Nelson hasn’t had a juvenile tried in Nelson Circuit Court for many years.
In August, Harper was the subject of an unrelated incident at Nelson County High School, in which video was taken of Sheriff David Hill and Major Larry Cindrick pinning the then-NCHS sophomore to the ground and struggling to handcuff him. Virginia State Police investigated the incident, and Harper later faced felony assault charges in juvenile court.
On Sept. 4, days after the high school incident, a rally in support of Harper was held outside the Nelson County courthouse, with about 50 protesters and about seven counter-protesters turning out in Lovingston.
On Nov. 3, Deputy Commonwealth’s attorney Erik Laub confirmed those assault charges were dismissed, per a special prosecutor.