CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) – For the most part, the court hearing Wednesday for Ishmell Seymore was a mundane proceeding, lasting only about five minutes.
During the hearing, the judge ordered a psychological evaluation for Seymore to see if he is competent to stand trial on two charges of murder.
The biggest takeaway from Wednesday’s hearing was the group of six people, all wearing similar ID badges who were seated in the second pew of Traffic Courtroom A during the hearings.
Back in July 2021, police say they tried to pull Seymore over on I-64. Instead, he fled, leading them off the interstate onto Greenbrier Parkway. He made a quick right into Crossways Shopping Center, which is across the parkway from Greenbrier Mall.
David Jones, 65, and Jennifer O’Connell, 54, were running errands in his Honda when Seymore rammed their car with his Audi at the intersection of Crossways Blvd. and Jarman.
Seymore ran away from the crash but was captured by police in a nearby parking lot.
The couple worked together as commercial real estate assessors for the City of Chesapeake. Jones was found dead at the scene and O’Connell died later at the hospital. O’Connell was getting ready to travel to New England for the funeral of her brother who had died just days earlier.
“I was actually watching the WAVY news that night and saw the story,” said City Real Estate Assessor Greg Daniels, but he had no idea the victims were his employees.
Daniels and a handful of others from his department were the ones in the courtroom Wednesday morning. He says the deaths of two of their colleagues continue to reverberate 17 months later.
“We all kind of felt like family, so it’s been very hard and difficult for all of us to lose people as great as David and Jen,” he said.
Daniels says some in his department still avoid the intersection of Jarman and Crossways Boulevard to this day, and it brings back bad memories for him as well.
“It’s very chilling and not a comforting experience to go through there,” explained Daniels.
Daniels says he and Jones were close both in the office and outside of it.
“I personally would attend ODU sporting events with David. It’s been very difficult. I have not been back to an Old Dominion football game since,” he said.
When asked why he and his colleagues attending the hearing Wednesday, Daniels says the department wanted to show support and respect.
“Certainly we know that we’re not gonna get to speak, and we don’t have any role in the actual court case,” he said. “But David and Jen are not able to go there themselves, so a lot of us just want to be there for them.”
Seymore’s next court date is set for February 2023.