Jackson Street murder case certified to grand jury
Three men came in with guns. I saw each with a gun.
— Miguel Sosa, shooting victim and witness
The Warrenton man agreed to allow a former roommate to visit the Jackson Street apartment that she had shared with his brother and another man on the assumption that she “just wanted to hang out.”
Emily Michelle Race, 19, arrived at the second-floor walk-up between 3 and 4 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 8, Miguel Sosa testified Thursday afternoon in Fauquier County General District Court.
In a preliminary hearing, Judge J. Gregory Ashwell heard more than two hours of testimony against Ms. Race and three other teenage defendants, all charged with the first-degree murder of Fabian Sosa, Miguel’s brother.
Ms. Race that morning travelled from Woodstock, where she lived. Moments after Ms. Race got to Warrenton, Mr. Sosa let her into the apartment and locked the door behind her, he testified.
Ms. Race immediately “ran” back to the door and unlocked and opened it, Mr. Sosa told Judge Ashwell.
Three men wearing masks and brandishing guns burst into the apartment, he recalled.
“Three men came in with guns,” Mr. Sosa testified. “I saw each with a gun.”
Within a few chaotic, bloody minutes, gunfire in the Hunt Country Manor apartment that morning left one man dead and four others wounded during a badly botched attempted robbery, according to law enforcement officials.
Two of the intruders followed a hallway to two bedrooms in the back of the apartment, Mr. Sosa said.
His brother Fabian Sosa, 27, occupied one of the bedrooms. Investigators that morning found Fabian dead in bed from gunshot wounds to his shoulder and back.
The third gunman remained behind and cornered him in the kitchen, according to Mr. Sosa.
“‘Where’s the sh-t’?” the man yelled at him, Mr. Sosa testified. “‘Where’s the money’?”
When he insisted that he had no cash, the man shot him in the stomach, Mr. Sosa said.
Mr. Sosa then told the gunman that he had stuffed his wallet in the sofa.
Mr. Sosa testified that “he shot me multiple times after that.” At least one bullet struck his face and left him blind.
Brought to the courthouse by his mother, who also escorted him to the witness stand, Mr. Sosa wore dark-framed Ray-Ban sunglasses.
Mr. Sosa suggested he regularly carried $800 to $1,500 in his wallet. Ms. Race knew he had large amounts of cash and drugs in the apartment, Mr. Sosa said.
Authorities in January arrested six people on multiple charges, including first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit robbery, related to Fabian Sosa’s shooting death:
• Ms. Race faces first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit robbery charges.
• Antonio Nehemiah Ogburn, 19, of Detroit, faces one count of first-degree murder and a conspiracy to commit robbery charge involving a firearm.
• Alexander Jonathan Golden, 18, of Southfield, Mich., faces first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit robbery charges.
• Jaden Lawrence Staples, 19, of Woodstock, faces first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit robbery charges.
• Jonathan Terrell Tucker, 20, of Woodstock, faces one count of accessory to murder after the fact.
• Makoya Samon Denham, 21, of Woodstock, faces one count of accessory to murder after the fact.
Mr. Ogburn, Mr. Golden and Mr. Staples allegedly accompanied Ms. Race to the Warrenton apartment Jan. 8. Judge Ashwell on Thursday considered evidence against those four. (Defendants typically do not offer evidence during preliminary hearings.)
The defendants — wrists and ankles shackled — and their defense lawyers attended the hearing.
Mr. Tucker and Ms. Denham did not join the other four defendants in Warrenton the morning of the murder, according to authorities. The court has scheduled September preliminary hearings to consider charges against them.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, all those in the courtroom wore protective masks and maintained social distancing during Thursday’s hearing, which lasted about two hours and 25 minutes.
Four prosecution witnesses testified Thursday, including Fauquier sheriff’s Deputy Bryan Vickers, among the first law enforcement officers to arrive at the scene.
In the hallway leading to two bedrooms, Deputy Vickers said he found a male roommate of the Sosa brothers lying in a “puddle” of blood, Miguel Sosa on the kitchen floor “with multiple gunshot wounds” and Fabian Sosa “pale” and motionless in bed.
The roommate later recovered from a gunshot to the face.
Deputy Vickers eventually rolled over Fabian Sosa’s body and discovered a gunshot wound to his shoulder and three to his back.
The deputy also noticed shell casings on the floor. Police recovered a 9mm pistol and casings from Apartment 211 at 393 Jackson St., according to a search warrant.
Ms. Race arranged for transportation to the apartment the night before the deadly shooting, according to the testimony.
About two weeks earlier, she and Colin Vaughn of Luray began to exchange messages through an online dating service and then Snapchat, Mr. Vaughn testified.
Around 10 to 10:30 p.m., Ms. Race sent him a Snapchat message, indicating she needed a ride to the Warrenton apartment to retrieve personal items, Mr. Vaughn said.
Ms. Race lived there in November, according to Miguel Sosa.
Mr. Vaughn testified that Ms. Race told him that two people would help her move items from the Warrenton apartment.
Instead, three men — Mr. Ogburn, Mr. Golden and Mr. Staples — climbed in the backseat of his Volkswagen Jetta, Mr. Vaughn said.
Ms. Race, whom he that night spoke with and met for the first time, rode in the front seat and provide GPS directions to the Sosas’ apartment.
Mr. Vaughn parked near the Jackson Street apartment building. Ms. Race alone left the vehicle and headed toward the building, he said.
Shortly after, one of the men in the vehicle said, “She needs us,” Mr. Vaughn testified.
Mr. Ogburn, Mr. Golden and Mr. Staples then left the car and walked toward the apartment building, according to Mr. Vaughn.
Mr. Vaughn, who claimed he had no knowledge of any planned robbery, remained in the VW.
Ms. Race and the three men later returned to the car, Mr. Vaughn said.
“She was frantic,” he said of Ms. Race. “She had her hand wrapped.”
With bullets flying in the apartment, Ms. Race apparently got shot in the left hand and Mr. Golden in the wrist or arm, according to law enforcement authorities.
Mr. Vaughn said he drove the defendants back to Woodstock.
Ms. Race entered the Robin’s Way residence “crying” and Mr. Golden bleeding, Ms. Denham, a co-defendant testified Thursday.
Ms. Denham also said she took Ms. Race to the Winchester Medical Center for treatment of her wound.
After considering the testimony, Judge Ashwell found probable cause to forward the case to a Fauquier grand jury to determine whether the four defendants should be indicted on the charges. The circuit court grand jury next meets July 27.
Contact Don Del Rosso at Don@FauquierNow.com or 540-270-0300.