NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The man accused of shooting five women in Norfolk, killing 3, back in November had his preliminary hearing on Wednesday.
Ziontay Palmer is charged with three counts of second-degree murder, among charges, and could spend the rest of his life in prison.
Officials say Palmer allegedly shot his 19-year-old girlfriend Angel Legrande in the shoulder, who was pregnant with their child.
Police also claim Palmer then shot and killed Legrande’s mother, 45-year-old Nicole Lovewine, and her girlfriend 42-year-old Detra Brown.
Palmer allegedly shot and killed a neighbor, 44-year-old Sara Costine, as well.
Legrande and another woman, 39-year-old Shazelle Dixon, survived.
“They were innocent people, he’s definitely wrong for what he did,” said Lovewine’s sister, Tina Hines.
Lovewine’s family said they forgive Palmer but want justice.
“We want the death penalty, but we know Virginia doesn’t offer it- we want the maximum, life without no possibility of parole,” said Cynthia and Tina Hines.
Dixon testified in court on Wednesday. She said she was washing dishes when she heard the shots. She then immediately ran to Costine’s backyard where her four children were playing on a trampoline. Before she got to her children, she said saw Palmer walk up and shoot Costine as she hovered over someone’s body.
She said that’s when Palmer approached her as she tried to hide behind a trashcan. She said he shot her multiple times, at least once in the face.
Dixon stated she didn’t know Palmer and had never seen him until the day of the shooting. In court, she pointed him out to the judge, saying she was sure he was the one who pulled the trigger on her and Costine.
Dixon told the judge she pleaded with Palmer before he shot her saying “I don’t have anything to do with this, I’m here for my kids,” she then said he looked her dead in the eyes and fired.
Dixon is still recovering from the shooting and recently returned to work. She has a metal plate in her jaw, and a bullet in her spine.
10 On Your Side asked Palmer’s attorney, Eric Korslund, if his client expressed any feelings toward the families who lost their loved ones.
“He’s sympathetic to everyone involved but I need to say he’s not admitting he’s the shooter in this case,” said Korslund.
Korslund said Palmer and Legrande have been in contact since the shooting.
A detective on the case testified in court that ballistic testing showed casings matched a gun recovered 50 yards from the scene near a light pole.
Police also obtained a ring doorbell video the judge watched showing one of the shootings. A Facebook Live video was also put in as evidence, but it was unclear what that video captured.
Lovewine’s family said Palmer and Legrande’s daughter was born last month.
“It’s hard on the family a little bit because we know who the father is and what the father did, but we’re going to love the baby with open arms,” said Tina Hines.
All charges were certified to a grand jury today except one set of malicious wounding and firearms charges. Those could come back up again in the future.
Korslund said he will be requesting another mental evaluation in circuit court.
We’re waiting to learn the next court date.