Former Franklin County deputy Jonathan Agee pleaded no contest in Roanoke City Court on Friday to killing his ex-wife.
Agee now faces life in prison, plus three years. Agee was accused of killing Jennifer Agee in a Roanoke gas station parking lot on Memorial Day 2011.
By pleading no contest, Agee gave up his rights to a trial and an appeal. Agee also pleaded no contest to a charge of using a firearm to commit murder. Sentencing will take place later this year.
The family of Jennifer Agee provided the following statement about Friday’s hearing:
“As you know today Jonathan Agee pled No Contest to the charges pending against him in Roanoke. The family of Jennifer Agee wants everyone to know that they have felt the love and the support of this community throughout this extremely difficult ordeal. While today’s events do not provide closure, they do help turn the chapter on what has been one of the most difficult challenges of this family.”
After shooting his ex-wife, Agee is also accused of getting into a shootout with a trooper on Interstate 81 in Montgomery County. Virginia State Trooper Matt Brannock was wounded in the shooting. Agee -- who also was wounded in the shootout -- faces an attempted capital murder charge, plus other charges, for the Montgomery County incident. Right now a trial is set for March 4 in Montgomery County. Defense attorney C.J. Covati said that there may be a similar plea deal reached for the Montgomery County charges.
Agee, 33, was in a Franklin County Sheriff’s Office vehicle when he pulled into the Sheetz gas station on Orange Avenue and killed his ex-wife. Agee’s oldest daughter, who was then 12, and her friend witnessed the shooting. In court Friday it was revealed that Agee shot his ex-wife eight times using a M4 Carbine and a high-capacity magazine.
Defense attorney C.J. Covati said that if Jonathan Agee was not taking steroids, then the murder may not have happened. Covati said the reason Agee agreed to the plea deal was so that his daughter and her friend would not have to testify. This was the same plea deal offered to Agee a few months after the shooting. As the trial drew closer, Agee decided to accept the commonwealth attorney’s offer.
In court Friday, the Commonwealth’s Attorney said that when Jennifer Agee saw her ex-husband pull into the gas station parking lot, she said “He is going to shoot me.”
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Former Franklin County Sheriff's deputy Jonathan Agee is due in Roanoke City Court at 12:15 p.m. Friday, and is expected to plead guilty to killing his ex-wife in May 2011.
WDBJ7's Chris Hurst is in court.
We will provide more details as soon as they come into the WDBJ7 newsroom.
Original story from Thursday, January 10
More than a year-and-a half after his ex-wife was gunned down with an assault rifle at a Roanoke gas station, the former Franklin County sheriff's deputy charged with murder is set to make a plea deal.
Sources who know the deal say Jonathan Agee will plead guilty to murdering his ex-wife, Jennifer. In exchange three other charges will be dropped.
We’re also told the commonwealth still wants to ask for the maximum penalty in this case, which would be life in prison plus three years.
The timing is important here because he was set to go on trial in Roanoke City later this month, but that appears like it won’t happen.
Jonathan Agee is accused of not only killing Jennifer Agee in May of 2011, but then getting into a shootout with state police and wounding a trooper before being shot himself on Interstate 81 in Montgomery County.
Agee got a new lawyer this past fall, and had been trying to get the state to pay for experts and a private investigator to help his defense, but a judge denied those requests last month.
Agee is expected to accept the deal in court at 12:15 p.m. Friday.
Agee faces an attempted capital murder charge plus others in Montgomery County. Right now a trial is set for March 4, but it's possible he could make a second deal.
Doctors have evaluated Agee in jail about his mental state, but those results are sealed.
Deputies who work in the jail say he is quiet and not a troublemaker inside lockup.
If the prosecution has its way, even with a deal, he'll be in prison for the rest of his life.