For the second time in two months, a judge denied a bond request in Amherst Circuit Court for an Amherst man facing charges of attempted second-degree murder and a malicious wounding in connection with a domestic dispute in the town of Amherst.
Alexander Junior Toliver, 35, appeared before Amherst Circuit Court Judge Michael Garrett on June 26 as his attorney, Mark Arthur, pursued a motion for the judge to reconsider a previous ruling in early May to deny his bond. Toliver was arrested April 16 after an incident outside an Amherst apartment complex and also faces a felony charge of using a firearm in commission of a felony and a misdemeanor count each of reckless handling of a firearm, assault, pointing a firearm and stalking, court records show.
Prosecutors have said a man they describe as the victim in the case is the boyfriend of a woman with whom Toliver previously was in a relationship. A verbal altercation took place around 10:30 p.m., words were exchanged, the defendant left and the next morning around 5 a.m. he showed up again, Arthur said during the June 26 hearing.
A physical tussle ensued that morning outside the apartment, Toliver bit the man in the chest, leaving a bite mark, and retrieved a pistol from his vehicle, according to prosecutors. Toliver pointed the pistol at the man and it discharged near his head, Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Amber Drumheller said.
Drumheller said at Toliver’s May 14 preliminary hearing in Amherst General District Court she observed where she said Toliver bit the man in the right upper chest and he still had a scar several weeks after the incident. She opposed granting him bond and said the dispute took place in an apartment complex where someone else could have gotten shot.
Arthur said Toliver had a steady job in Charlottesville prior to his arrest he would like to keep, has no violent past and has lived in the area his entire life. He requested a secure bond with conditions including a curfew, not having contact with the other man involved and not leaving the state while awaiting trial.
Toliver was trying to see his children during the incident, Arthur said. In arguing against the attempted murder charge, he said the commonwealth has no evidence Toliver intended to kill the man.
“They’ve got a good reckless handling case,” Arthur said to Garrett. “There’s no specific intent to kill in this case. He [Toliver] strikes him in the head, the gun goes off; that’s their case.”
Garrett said while ruling to overrule the request: “I still feel there is a public safety issue.”
A trial in Amherst Circuit Court was planned for July 9, but Garrett granted a continuance at Drumheller’s request because of a key witness for the prosecution not being able to attend that day. Arthur said he doesn’t agree with the continuance, and Toliver doesn’t waive his speedy trial rights.
Garrett pointed to the defendant’s speedy trial rights in trying to have the trial set as soon as possible. While it hasn’t been officially set, an Aug. 6 date is targeted for a trial and Toliver remains scheduled for arraignment on the charges July 9.
Reach Justin Faulconer at (434) 385-5551.