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Charge upgraded in Orange boy’s death

An Orange County man will remain in Central Virginia Regional Jail as he awaits his preliminary hearing in the shooting death of his girlfriend’s 10-year-old son.

At a hearing Monday, visiting Judge Amy Lee Jacobs agreed with Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Clarissa Berry’s contention that amended charges filed against Billy Joe Lee supported a presumption against granting bond.

Deputies responding to a home in the rural 16000 block of Matthews Mill Road the night of April 6 found George “Bubbie” Toombs dead of an apparent gunshot wound. Lee, who neighbors said was living at the home as the boyfriend of Tina Marie Toombs, the child’s mother, was charged with child endangerment, felony child abuse and neglect, shooting in the commission of a felony, and discharging a firearm within an occupied building.

Authorities have released few details about the case, and the hearing Monday in Orange County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court produced no significant new information. At the beginning of the hearing, Berry amended the charge to “discharging a firearm within an occupied building resulting in the death of a person.”

Defense attorney Jack Maus argued that his client had not been charged with malicious wounding or a violent crime, so there should be no presumption against granting him bond.

The judge determined that the amended charge was equivalent to second-degree murder, and therefore a presumption against bond was justified.

In light of the amended charge, Maus requested and was granted a continuance on the bond hearing. Lee will next appear in court on May 6 for his preliminary hearing on the charges and to revisit the question of bond.

Tina Marie Toombs, who was charged with felony child abuse and neglect, will be in Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court May 5.

Dan McFarland: