Shrader indicted for shooting PCHS freshman

Page News and Courier

LURAY, Feb. 22 ― A man accused of shooting a 15-year-old Page County High School student was indicted Monday in Page County Circuit Court.

A grand jury returned four indictments against James Lee Shrader, 20, including second-degree murder, felony murder, possession of a firearm after being a convicted felon and use of a firearm during the commission of a felony.

Shrader, who was 19 at the time of the shooting, was initially charged with involuntary manslaughter, however, those charges were elevated on Nov. 16.

“Based on statements that Shrader provided following the incident, as well as other facts, we feel that the new charges are appropriate,” Page County Commonwealth's Attorney Ken Alger said at the time.

According to a Sept. 29 news release issued by the commonwealth's attorney's office, the shooting occurred around 2 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 26, at an apartment at the 200 block of West Main Street in Stanley. At the time of the incident, Gwynn Fishel ― who is referred to as “G.V.F” in court documents ― was in a bedroom with Shrader, who possessed a firearm.

According to court records, Shrader was adjudicated as delinquent at 14 of an offense that would have been a felony. The Page County Commonwealth's Attorney is not disclosing that offense since Shrader was a juvenile at the time.

During a Sept. 27 interview, Shrader “admitted to investigators to pointing the firearm in the general direction of Fishel,” according to court documents, loading the revolver and pulling the trigger twice. The gun then fired, and a bullet struck Fishel in the head.

The teen was transported to the U.Va. Medical Center in Charlottesville in critical condition and later died from her wounds just before 1 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 28. She had recently begun her freshmen year at Page County High School, after moving to Stanley from Stephens City several months before.

During a Jan. 11 preliminary hearing in Page County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, Cpl. Curtis Long of the Page County Sheriff's Office testified Shrader changed his story several times during the investigation, first claiming that he didn't know what happened but then saying Fishel shot herself.

Capt. Aaron Cubbage, lead investigator for the case, testified that the day after the shooting, Shrader said that he pulled the trigger while the gun was pointed at Fishel, checking if the cylinder would rotate and the hammer worked, but forgot about the live round.

Shrader, whose address is listed as the Page County Jail in Luray in court documents, is scheduled to appear again in court on March 7 to schedule a plea hearing or trial date. He is being held without bond.

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