The Wise County Sheriff’s Office said its Lee County counterpart received a call Wednesday morning that 24-year- old Lewis Wesley Hickman III approached a residence near the Wise/Lee County line, an area subject to an intense search since Monday night, and asked residents to use a phone. Hickman was of the most concern to authorities, as he had been sought as a person of interest in the shooting from the outset of the investigation.
A WCSO investigator and Virginia State Police troopers in the area responded. Hickman was found in the front yard of the residence and taken into custody without incident.
Hickman, 22-year-old Paige Elizabeth Carroll and 40-year-old Aaron Leigh Adams became persons of interest following the shooting of Chris Standifer, 50, of Back Valley Road near Big Stone Gap. Standifer was shot in the lower back while in his garage and is being treated at Holston Valley Medical Center.
On Monday evening, police spotted a vehicle linked to the trio and gave chase. The three suspects abandoned the car on Strawberry Patch Road just west of Big Stone Gap and just across the Lee County line. On Tuesday, Carroll and Adams were found and taken into custody shortly after they had approached a residence asking to use a phone. The homeowner refused the request and called authorities.
With all three in custody on Wednesday, authorities formally charged each with attempted first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, aggravated malicious wounding, conspiracy to commit malicious wounding and use of a firearm during the commission of a felony.
Hickman has also been charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and faces a host of other charges in Wise and Lee counties ranging from a variety of drug offenses to grand larceny to shoplifting and trespassing. Carroll also has an outstanding capias warrant in Lee County related to a charge of driving under the influence.
The WCSO said all three of the accused are being held without bond at the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail in Duffield.