Man Accused of Firing Gun During Rally Found Guilty

A Charlottesville judge is handing down a guilty verdict in a case tied to violence during the Unite the Right rally last summer.

Richard Wilson Preston went before Judge Richard Moore in Charlottesville Circuit Court Tuesday, May 8. The 53-year-old Maryland man decided to not contest the single felonious charge of firing a weapon within 1,000 feet of a school.

The commonwealth said it would have presented evidence from an eyewitness during a three-day trial, which was scheduled to get underway Wednesday, May 9. The witness reportedly saw Preston raise his gun to take aim at Corey Long, a Culpeper County man accused of using a flame-throwing device on August 12, 2017.

Video footage from the ACLU of Virginia shows a man believed to be Preston firing a pistol during clashes between Unite the Right rally supporters and protesters near Charlottesville’s Emancipation Park.

Preston was arrested in Towson, Maryland on August 26, 2017. He reportedly has ties to the Ku Klux Klan.

A judge had previously set bond at $50,000 for Preston, but barred him from leaving the state or possessing a gun.

Preston is set to be sentenced Wednesday. He faces up to 10 years of jail time and a maximum fine of $100,000.


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