A murder charge brought last year after a fatal shooting at a Salem convenience store has been redirected from one suspect onto another.
Demetrius Nathaniel Evans, 29, was indicted Friday on one count of second-degree murder in the death of Anthony Joseph Trovata. Evans is also charged with using a firearm to commit a felony.
Police have said Trovata, 32, of Shawsville, was struck by a single bullet early May 8 outside the Go Mart in the 1900 block of West Main Street. He was hospitalized but died of his injuries.
Within 24 hours of the shooting, police located an initial suspect at a motel in Christiansburg: Mark Allen Bell.
Bell was charged with murder and multiple firearms offenses, while Evans was later charged as an accessory.
More recently, however, the weight of investigators’ suspicion has shifted between the two men.
In December, prosecutors dropped their case against Bell and, at a preliminary hearing this month, more serious charges were brought against Evans and certified.
“We made the determination that murder for Evans was the more appropriate charge,” Salem Commonwealth’s Attorney Tom Bowers said Friday, and he cited forensic evidence and the medical examiner’s report as motivation for that decision.
Bell also was newly indicted Friday and is now accused of possessing a firearm as a felon, recklessly handling a gun and discharging it.
No longer facing a murder charge, Bell is scheduled to enter pleas to his offenses in Salem Circuit Court on March 7.
The homicide case against Evans is slated to go to trial May 23.
Bowers on Friday declined to discuss additional details about the shooting.
Angela Woolwine, 30, of Salem was with Trovata when he was killed, according to police, and she was charged with drug possession soon after the incident.
Woolwine currently has three offenses pending in Salem Circuit Court, all stemming from the day of the shooting: distribution of methamphetamine and possessing both heroin and fentanyl with the intent to distribute. Those cases are due to be heard later this month.