AMHERST - Two felony charges against a Madison Heights man accused of killing his father in an Oct. 1 shooting will advance to an Amherst County grand jury. 

Chris Hamilton Austin, 48, is accused of second-degree murder and use of a firearm in commission of a felony in connection with the death of John Austin, 83.   

Chris Austin was arrested shortly after Amherst County Sheriff's deputies arrived at a residence at 147 Riverview Road in Madison Heights shortly after 3 p.m. Oct. 1. Deputies found John Austin, who lived in the home, with a gunshot wound, Sheriff E.W. Viar said at the scene. Officers who immediately responded to the incident took Chris Austin into custody, according to Viar. 

Austin briefly appeared in Amherst County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court Wednesday and waived a preliminary hearing on the charges. Judge Jeff Bennett sent the charges to the next term of the grand jury, which decides if evidence is enough to send the case to trial and does not determine guilt or innocence. 

Family members poured into the section of Riverview Road, a narrow corridor a few miles from the U.S. 29 Bypass and the Amherst Adult Detention Center, following the Oct. 1 shooting. Jeff Anderson, a cousin of the defendant who arrived near the scene that day, said relatives were shocked by the shooting and described John Austin as "a great man" and a leader in the family.  

Mark Arthur, Chris Austin's attorney, said immediately following the hearing his client acted in self-defense. Chris Austin remains in custody pending further proceedings.  

Reach Justin Faulconer at (434) 385-5551.

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