Month-Long Murder Trial Delayed Past October

The man charged with two counts of first-degree murder will wait at least another month before being put on trial for the homicides of an Aldie mother and her adult son.

On Monday, Virginia Supreme Court Chief Justice Donald W. Lemons signed an 11th order extending his original Declaration of Judicial Emergency, which he issued on March 16. That declaration requires all civil, traffic and criminal matters, including jury trials, to be delayed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The latest extension delays all jury trials in Virginia—aside from those in approved circuit courts—until at least Nov. 1.

That means the planned 24-day jury trial of 40-year-old Brian Welsh, who is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in connection with the January 2018 shooting deaths of Mala Manwani and her adult son, Rishi Manwani, at their Tomey Court home in Aldie, won’t happen as originally anticipated starting Monday, Oct. 5.

Neither will the three-day—Oct. 27-29—jury trial of Brian Foley, who is charged with one count of involuntary manslaughter stemming from an early-morning Ashburn car crash in November 2019 that killed a 31-year-old Maryland woman.

While the Foley trial this week was still listed on the docket for the end of October, the Welsh trial has officially been continued, according to the Virginia Courts Case Information system.

It is expected that Lemons will sign another extension order that will likely delay jury trials until at least the beginning of December. However, the Loudoun County Circuit Court is looking to start up sooner, as it has already submitted a plan to the Virginia Supreme Court outlining how it intends to resume jury trials while adhering to all sorts of social distancing and other public health mandates. It’s still awaiting approval.

Meanwhile, the state Supreme Court has approved plans for 10 of the commonwealth’s 122 circuit courts—for the Alexandria, Alleghany, Charlottesville, Fairfax, Henrico, Norfolk, Prince William, Richmond, Stafford and Virginia Beach Circuit Courts. Ultimately, when the Virginia Supreme Court does approve the Loudoun Circuit Court’s plan for a jury trial return, there will likely be a few weeks of retrofitting to perform in the courtrooms, such as installing plexiglass to separate jurors in the jury box.

pszabo@loudounnow.com

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