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Man charged in 10-year-old Orange boy’s death wants new lawyer

RELATED: See more crime news from the Fredericksburg region

BY DAN McFARLAND / THE FREE LANCE–STAR

An Orange County man charged with murder in the April 6 shooting death of a 10-year-old boy is not happy with his court-appointed lawyer.

When Billy Joe Lee appeared in Orange County Circuit Court Monday, substitute Judge William Ledbetter Jr. noted that Lee’s court appearance was to “determine whether he had retained counsel” to defend him against charges in the death of George “Bubbie” Toombs.

Defense attorney Jack Maus has been representing Lee, but Lee had indicated in an earlier court appearance that he intended to retain other counsel.

Lee indicated Monday that he and his family intend to hire Graven W. Craig of Louisa to represent him, but have not yet done so. The judge noted that the court documents showed that Craig is willing to represent Lee, but has not yet been retained.

Craig was not in court Monday, but later confirmed that was the case.

Ledbetter expressed a willingness to delay the hearing for another 30 days, but asked Lee if he understood that he was voluntarily waiving his speedy trial deadline.

Lee responded, “I ain’t been represented right from the beginning. I’ve been railroaded from Day 1 by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, the Commonwealth’s Attorney and the court.”

Lee and the boy’s mother, Tina Toombs, were arrested after the boy was found dead from a gunshot wound at the Toombs’ home on Matthews Mill Road southwest of Unionville.

Lee was initially charged with child endangerment, felony child abuse and neglect, shooting in the commission of a felony, and discharging a firearm in a dwelling resulting in the death of an individual. Neighbors said Lee was living at the home where the boy was shot as the boyfriend of the victim’s mother.

At a previous hearing in the case, Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Clarissa Berry said the boy was fatally wounded when Lee discharged a firearm during an argument at the home. At that hearing, Maus read a written statement from Lee that he “loved the child” and did not mean to hurt him.

Last month, a grand jury indicted Lee on additional charges of first-degree murder, homicide murder and use of a firearm in commission of a felony. Lee has been held without bond at the Central Virginia Regional Jail.

Ledbetter set a new court date of Sept. 29 for Lee, but cautioned that if he had not retained counsel by then, the case would proceed with the court-appointed lawyer.

Tina Toombs also has a Sept. 29 court appearance scheduled on charges of felony child abuse and neglect. She is free on $5,000 bond.

Dan McFarland:

dmcfarland@freelancestar.com

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