A Virginia Beach man smirked at the family of a teen he admitted to killing. A judge found him in contempt of court.
A Virginia Beach man out on bond for 2½ years before he pleaded guilty to a 2018 fatal shooting is back in jail after being found guilty of a contempt of court charge stemming from an interaction with the victim’s family.
Circuit Court Judge Steven Frucci determined Jacob “Alex” Meadows smirked at and moved toward the family of a teenager he’d admitted to killing, after a plea hearing last week. In addition to finding Meadows in contempt for his behavior, Frucci revoked Meadow’s bond and ordered he remain jailed until his sentencing in October.
Meadows, 23, pleaded guilty July 11 to manslaughter and drug charges for the 2018 shooting death of Ocean Lakes High School student Christopher Ross during a drug deal. In exchange, prosecutors agreed to drop murder and gun charges against him. They also promised to seek no more than a seven-year prison term.
While Ross’ immediate family agreed to the deal, two family members testified Monday they were upset about it and that emotions were running high during last week’s plea hearing.
Ross’ older brother, Robert Ross, testified he was sitting toward the back of the courtroom when he saw Meadows walking out and looking “happy” at the conclusion of the hearing. Meadows had already been out on bond about 2½ years at that point and was allowed to remain free until sentencing.
“It made me very upset, honestly,” Ross told the judge.
Ross said he and other family members decided to stay in the courtroom for a while afterward and then gathered in the hallway outside to talk. The group was heading toward the elevators and escalators when they saw Meadows passing by them in the hallway.
Ross said Meadows smirked as he approached. Surprised to see him there and angered by his behavior, Ross accused Meadows of ”walking up” on him. Ross’ family members then grabbed Ross and pulled him away.
Meadows testified Monday he was happy when he left the courtroom but said it was because he was able to go home to be with his daughter. He said he didn’t intend to show any disrespect toward the Ross family.
Meadows said he was about to leave the courthouse when he remembered his attorney, James Broccoletti, had said he wanted to talk to him afterward. Meadows said he was heading back to find Broccoletti when he came upon Ross and his family. He denied smirking or saying anything to them.
Prosecutors played videos of footage captured in the hallway outside the courtroom when the encounter occurred. The footage showed Meadows walking toward the courtroom, as Ross’ family walked in the opposite direction. It also showed Ross being led away by his family as Meadows stood by and watched.
Christopher Ross was killed the afternoon of Dec. 11, 2018, at a house in the Red Mill area of Virginia Beach. He’d gone to the house to buy a quarter-pound of marijuana for $400 from a teen who lived there. Meadows was the one who supplied the marijuana to the teen and was there when Christopher Ross arrived.
The group was in an upstairs bedroom when Ross lifted his shirt to display a revolver he had tucked in his waistband, grabbed the marijuana and ran. Meadows also was armed and chased after him, firing several shots. Christopher Ross was struck five times as he ran out the front door. He died at the scene.
Broccoletti called last week’s hallway encounter a coincidence and said his client did nothing wrong. Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Paul Powers, however, argued Meadows made a conscious decision to come back, knowing emotions were running high and that it was a “volatile” situation.
After the encounter, the video shows Meadows lingering nearby and watching, rather than trying to get away from the situation, the prosecutor said.
Frucci agreed. “It was incredibly unwise to come back,” the judge said.
Frucci said the videos show that Meadows did smirk and move toward Ross, and called his behavior “abhorrent” and “calculated.”
The judge also told prosecutors at the end of the hearing that they’d “have a hard time getting me to accept the (plea) deal,” and recused himself from presiding at Meadows’ upcoming sentencing.
While Frucci presided over the hearing when the pleas were entered, the deal was not accepted at that time. The sentencing judge could choose to reject it.
A spokeswoman for the Virginia Beach commonwealth’s attorney’s office said last week that prosecutors “amended the charges to fit the available evidence” but declined to elaborate.
Jane Harper, firstname.lastname@example.org