Vir­ginia Man Pleads Guilty to Murder

Cor­nelius I. Hayes, of Black­stone, Va., has pleaded guilty to use of a firearm in a vio­lent crime caus­ing the death of another. The charges stem from the mur­der of James Stephen­son Lee in the park­ing lot of the Veteran’s Admin­is­tra­tion Hos­pi­tal in Rich­mond, Va.

Hayes, 55, was indicted by a fed­eral grand jury on charges of first degree mur­der, use of a firearm in rela­tion to a vio­lent crime caus­ing the death of another, attempted mur­der, use of a firearm in rela­tion to a vio­lent crime, and pos­ses­sion of a firearm by a con­victed felon. He faces a max­i­mum penalty of life.

As stated in court doc­u­ments, Hayes admit­ted approach­ing Lee and a female in the park­ing of the Med­ical Cen­ter. After a brief ver­bal con­fronta­tion with the woman, Hayes bran­dished a .38 cal­iber revolver and shot Lee in the shoul­der. Hayes chased the woman a short dis­tance, only to return to Lee, and shoot him a sec­ond time. Lee died as a result of the gun­shots fired by Hayes.

In announc­ing the plea, U.S. Attor­ney Neil H. MacBride said, “Cor­nelius Hayes admit­ted that he shot and killed James Lee that tragic day. He now faces up to life in prison for bring­ing – and then using – a firearm to resolve a domes­tic dispute.”