82ºF

Local man to serve 16 years after 2018 robbery, accidental deadly shooting

Prosecutors: Woman killed was involved in robbery that led to her death

SALEM, Va. – New details emerged Friday in the 2018 shooting death of a Franklin County woman.

Prosecutors said 35-year-old Amber Ross was involved in setting up the robbery that led to her accidental death.

At a hearing in Roanoke County court, 28-year-old Aaron Witcher accepted a plea agreement to serve 16 years of a 58-year sentence. He pleaded no contest to second-degree murder, robbery and two gun charges, admitting there was enough evidence to convict him.

The incident started with a robbery at a man’s house on Overland Drive in the Cave Spring area of Roanoke County. The commonwealth’s attorney said it was an inside job. Ross was there, feeding information to Witcher.

Witcher texted her, “Where are the dogs? Inside? Is the door closed?”

Later, Ross texted the folllowing, referring to drugs: “It’s not all in here. He has one box somewhere else. I’m going to try to distract him.”

Then, right before the shooting, Ross said, “Lady has a phone in her hand in the kitchen as soon as you walk in.”

The murder case in Roanoke County in May of last year caught the attention of many.

The prosecution confirmed what 10 News reported a year ago -- that the shooting was an accident. Witcher burst into the house, and during a struggle with the man who lived there, his gun went off.

“There’s one bullet that’s fired that goes through the neck of Ms. Ross, killing Ms. Ross and that bullet ends up lodging into the wall right behind her,” the commonwealth’s attorney said.

In court, Witcher chose not to speak on his own behalf.

“He never intended to kill anyone,” his lawyer said. “Mr. Witcher did not wish this upon Ms. Ross and would extend his sympathies to her family.”

Three other people face charges in this case. Police say another woman, Shamby Walker, also helped set up the robbery and fled the scene afterward. A man who was 17 at the time was with Witcher during the robbery, and another man, Andrew Jeffers, was the getaway driver.

The commonwealth's attorney said it's uncertain what their charges will be.

The prosecution said Witcher’s previously suspended time for a 2015 felony could lead to more jail time for him as a result of this shooting, and, at a trial, a witness would have testified that Ross and Walker planned the robbery in person with Witcher before the point when they were texting back and forth.