Man accused in road rage shooting charged with assaulting inmate while in jail

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Jonathan Ray McDonald, of Spotsylvania, Va.(Rappahannock Regional Jail)
Jonathan Ray McDonald, of Spotsylvania, Va.(Rappahannock Regional Jail)

A man accused of shooting at and injuring two people during a road rage incident in York County is now facing an assault charge from an alleged incident in jail in December.

Jonathan Ray McDonald, 29, of Spotsylvania, is accused of grabbing and repeatedly punching another inmate Dec. 26 in the F block housing unit at the Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail, according to a criminal complaint filed in open court.

McDonald appeared in the Williamsburg-James City General District Court early Thursday morning for a check status hearing regarding the incident.

During the hearing, McDonald’s attorney Patricia Nagel, who he has been retained in the York shooting case as well, requested the judge schedule the trial for the alleged jail assault to follow the trial in York County.

Nagel told General District Court Judge Colleen Killilea she believed the assault charge had been manufactured so York County prosecutors would have something to impeach him with in his upcoming trial.

Prosecutors or defense attorneys can impeach someone who testifies if there is question about their credibility or character, according to the Federal Rules of Evidence.

“Mr. McDonald was attacked by other inmates in the jail,” Nagel said Thursday afternoon, adding inmates went to his cell and attacked him. “He defended himself, however the magistrate would not allow him to file a cross complaint for strangulation as a result of that attack.”

McDonald is accused of shooting a woman in the head and another man in the face, near his eyebrow, beside the Mooretown Road overpass on Route 199 on June 4.

She said she thought York County prosecutors would try to use the Williamsburg case against McDonald when they prosecute the alleged road rage case. There have been many delays and obstructions in the York County case, Nagel said in court.

Killilea denied Nagel’s request for the case to follow the York County case, explaining that the cases are unrelated and York prosecutors would be able to reference the Williamsburg case whether there is a conviction or not.

Killilea added that the charge against McDonald had been taken out by a corrections officer at the jail, not the alleged victim.

The case is set for trial March 31 at 10:30 a.m.

The criminal complaint states McDonald shared cell 210 with another inmate, John Richardson. Around 3:35 p.m. Dec 26, a corrections officer noticed a large group of inmates crowded around a cell on the top tier on the right side of the unit.

The officer found the alleged victim and Richardson in the cell, both out of breath. The victim was sitting on the cell’s toilet, documents state.

The officer took the alleged victim from the cell and asked him what was going on.

“He said ‘It’s nothing serious I lost a dice game and he just had to smack me on [sic] time. I don’t have to leave. That’s how this goes,’” the criminal complaint states.

Around 4:10 p.m., the officer saw McDonald, Richardson’s cellmate, allegedly “grab and repeatility [sic] punch” the inmate who had lost the dice game, documents state.

The alleged victim was taken to the nurse, who found a “superficial area” on his right shin, according to the criminal complaint.

McDonald was escorted to the B block housing unit. The victim told officers McDonald threw the first punch after the two “exchanged words,’’ according to the criminal complaint.

“When asked why the fight started he had no response,” the criminal complaint states.

McDonald is scheduled to appear in the York-Poquoson Circuit Court at 9 a.m. Feb. 28 for a motions hearing.

WYDaily archives were used in this story.