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Defendant in killing of Derek De La Iglesia indicted for New Year’s Eve murder in Culpeper

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One of the two Culpeper 17-year-olds charged in the Oct. 6, 2020 murder of Derek De La Iglesia in Warrenton has been indicted for a separate murder that occurred on New Year’s Eve in Culpeper. The victim in the Dec. 31 shooting, which took place on a residential block of Third Street in Culpeper, was Trajon Taylor, 19, according a Culpeper Police Department press release.

Khaliq Clark was indicted Tuesday by a Culpeper grand jury on three felony counts: one count of second-degree murder, one count of shooting into an occupied building and one count of using a firearm in the commission of a felony. He is scheduled to be arraigned March 23 in Culpeper County Circuit Court, according to court records.

Clark, who was injured in the Dec. 31 incident, turned himself in to Culpeper police on Jan. 3, the department announced at the time.

According to reporting from the Culpeper Star-Exponent, a witness testified during a hearing in Culpeper County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court that the Dec. 31 incident started when four men approached a residence at 11 p.m. An argument ensued with the home’s occupants over “shoes left at the residence earlier in the night," according to witness testimony.

Detectives found dozens of bullet casings at the scene, the Star-Exponent reported.

In a Jan. 1 press release, the Culpeper Police Department described the scene as “expansive” and said that detectives believed “all parties were known to each other and that there is no on-going threat to the community.”

Culpeper Police Communications Officer Julia Cole confirmed to the Fauquier Times on Friday that "many" shell casings were found at the scene and a "group of people" who knew each other were involved in the incident, but said she could not speak to an alleged motive for the shooting or share any more details about the ongoing investigation.

Besides Taylor and Clark, no one else was injured in the incident, she said. No one else has been charged in connection with the shooting.

Additionally, Clark entered an “Alford Plea” – an acknowledgment there is enough evidence to convict, but not an admission of guilt -- to one felony count of attempted grand larceny in Culpeper County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court on Tuesday, the Star-Exponent reported. That charge stems from an alleged June 23, 2020 robbery of Westside Grocery in Culpeper and is unrelated to either murder.

Along with co-defendant Tyekwan Webster, Clark is charged with first-degree murder in Fauquier County in connection with De La Iglesia’s death. The pair will face a grand jury in Fauquier County Circuit Court on March 22 on those charges.

Clark and Webster were charged Jan. 25 by the Warrenton Police Department. In addition to the murder charge, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison, each is charged with using a firearm in the commission of robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery.

A Fauquier County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court judge has since certified those charges to a circuit court grand jury; if indicted by the grand jury, the two will be tried as adults under Virginia law.

De La Iglesia died from a single gunshot wound to the head, according to a Feb. 9 search warrant affidavit filed by a Warrenton detective. He was found already deceased the afternoon of Oct. 6 in his vehicle, which was parked in front of an apartment complex on Jackson Street in Warrenton.

“Witness statements gather[ed] by detectives indicate two male subjects were at the victim’s vehicle prior to the shooting,” the affidavit said. “The description of those two males matches another witness description of two males running from the area and getting into a vehicle.”

The suspects communicated with De La Iglesia via Snapchat prior to the murder, according to the affidavit. “Passing lord fair fax,” said one message, the affidavit alleged. “I’m here 6ro,” said another.

A third person, Tyrik D’Andre Simmons, 22, of Madison Heights, was arrested Jan. 12; he is accused of driving the suspects to and from Culpeper and the scene of the murder.

The murder, the criminal complaint filed with his arrest alleged, was the result of a botched attempt to rob De La Iglesia.

Reach Coy Ferrell at cferrell@fauquier.com

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