A Mechanicsville woman is once again facing a first-degree murder charge in a fatal shooting at an Ashland Walmart parking lot this year.
A Hanover County grand jury on June 20 indicted Brittany Lashea Wiggins on a murder charge in connection with the killing of Ashley Fricke, 25, of Caroline County. A Nov. 13 jury trial has been set.
In May, General District Court Judge Hugh S. Campbell dismissed the original murder charge against Wiggins, finding there wasn’t probable cause to support it.
After that ruling, prosecutors decided to seek a first-degree murder indictment directly from a grand jury, said R.E. “Trip” Chalkley III, the Hanover commonwealth’s attorney.
Wiggins, 25, also faces three other charges — maliciously shooting at a vehicle, using a firearm while committing a felony and firing from a vehicle during the Feb. 18 incident.
Joe Morrissey, Wiggins’ attorney, has said his client fired the weapon after getting into a verbal altercation with two boys who were in a pickup truck parked next to a vehicle Fricke was sitting in. The defense attorney has said his client fired out of fear, not anger, and that she discharged the round as a warning shot to scare off the boys, but it hit Fricke.
“The defense will continue to argue that it was an accidental killing with absolutely no deliberation, premeditation or malice,” Morrissey said this week.
Prosecutors have dismissed the notion that Wiggins was scared, saying instead that she was upset after the confrontation. Mackenzie Babichenko, a Hanover assistant commonwealth’s attorney, said at the May court hearing that on her way out of the parking lot, Wiggins stopped her car and fired in the direction of the boys before speeding away.