GATE CITY — It took jurors just under an hour of deliberations Thursday evening to find Charlie Joe Ramey guilty of murder for his involvement in the Christmas 2011 shooting death of a Nickelsville man.
Ramey, 61, of Bristol, Tenn., was found guilty on a total of three felony counts, including felony murder, robbery and distribution of Schedule III drugs.
The charges stemmed from the Dec. 24, 2011, shooting death of Gregory Jerome Hale at his home near Nickelsville.
The nine-man, four-woman jury will return to Scott County Circuit Court today for the sentencing phase of Ramey’s trial.
Once the jury has given its recommended sentence, 30th Circuit Judge John Kilgore will set a date for Ramey’s actual sentencing hearing.
Ramey faces a maximum sentence of life in prison as a result of his convictions on the murder and robbery charges.
Although a verdict was returned Thursday evening, the Scott County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office declined to comment on the case prior to the trial’s conclusion Friday.
The jury’s verdict followed nearly two days of arguments and questioning by Scott County Commonwealth’s Attorney Marcus McClung and defense attorney Joe Rasnic of Jonesville.
At one point during the trial, jurors were taken to Hale’s home on Addington Frame Road as part of a jury view to get a better understanding of the crime scene before returning to court to hear further testimony and evidence.
Closing arguments in the trial were presented Thursday morning, with the jury returning after lunch to be given instructions. The jury then retired for deliberations shortly after 5 p.m. They returned to the courtroom roughly 45 minutes later with their verdicts.
During the trial, prosecutors argued that the murder occurred when Ramey and another man went to Hale’s home under the pretense of buying drugs.
Hale was robbed and shot, however, authorities said. He reportedly died at the scene from gunshot wounds to the temple and forehead.
His body was found Christmas Day by a relative who went to his home.
The alleged trigger man in Hale’s shooting — Daniel Eugene Norris, 37, of Bristol, Tenn. — is scheduled to stand trial in Scott County Circuit Court in August on capital murder charges.
If convicted, Norris could face the death penalty.
The arrests of both men followed a joint investigation by the Scott County Sheriff’s Office, the Virginia State Police and the Scott County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office.