A 30-year-old Richmond man pleaded not guilty to murder charges for a shooting in mid-September at a hearing Tuesday in the Richmond Superior Court.
Jafari Sargent turned himself in to the Richmond police on Sept. 18, a week after the shooting death of Isaiah Thomas. Eyewitnesses said the shooting resulted from an escalating argument between Thomas and Sargent, who were cousins.
Sargent’s attorney, Colin Cooper, said that the victim provoked Sargent.
“It wouldn’t have happened had he not been put in the position of self-defense,” Cooper said.
Cooper also asked the court to lower Sargent’s bail to $50,000. The motion was denied, and Judge Patricia M. Scanlon kept Sargent’s bail at $1 million.
Cooper said that his client’s family and friends wrote a series of letters about Sargent’s good character to present to the judge. Sargent does not have a prior record.
“Jafari was a good kid,” said Jackie Taylor, Sargent’s aunt, who watched the hearing.