The case of a Harrisonburg man accused of a murder on Christmas Eve was postponed this morning during a hearing in Rockingham County Circuit Court.
Delano Fitz, 28, is charged with four counts: first-degree murder, possession of a weapon as a convicted felon, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony and possession of a firearm as a convicted felon. Fitz has claimed self-defense in the shooting death of Traman Turner outside his ex-girlfriend's townhouse.
Fitz, who is being held at Rockingham County Jail without bond, was set to go on trial Aug. 25.
However, his new defense attorney, Lou Nagy, asked Judge Bruce Albertson to delay the case. Nagy took over for attorney Aaron Graves, who realized he had a conflict in the case because he previously defended a commonwealth’s witness.
“I believe it’s necessary to give me significant time to get up to speed on the case,” said Nagy.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Marsha Garst objected to the delay, saying that there were 34 prosecution witnesses prepared for the August trial date.
Albertson sided with the defense and set an Oct. 20 trial date. The jury trial is scheduled to last five days.
Police say Fitz shot and killed Traman Turner after Turner arrived at his ex-girlfriend's townhome on Commerce Drive to pick up his three children. Police say Fitz shot Turner, 27, at least four times in the parking lot of the complex.
Prosecutors say at least three shots hit Turner in the back. Medical examiners are still trying to determine whether the fourth shot also struck him in the back, or entered his chest.
Witness testimony during a preliminary hearing suggested that Fitz — the boyfriend of Turner's ex-girlfriend at the time of the shooting — thought it was a sign of disrespect for Turner to pick up his children while he was at the home.
Police say the two men argued in the parking lot outside the townhome before shots were fired.
The woman at the center of the dispute, Edasha Williams, initially told police that Turner was the aggressor, but later testified Fitz started the altercation.
Contact Pete DeLea at 574-6278 or firstname.lastname@example.org