Arrests made in St. Clair homicide

12:30pm update: Dressed in striped jail jumpsuits, the two men accused of capital murder in the November 9 killing of 26-year-old Jayne Warren McGowan shuffled, via video, into Charlottesville General District Court this morning.

The elder of the two, 22-year-old William Douglas Gentry Jr. (left) waved to the camera trained on him at Albemarle Charlottesville Regional Jail. That set off a torrent of sobs from the recipient of the wave, a brown-haired woman dressed in jeans and a maroon sweatshirt.

Supported by a frien, the crying woman stood near the judge's bench at the front of the courtroom as Gentry answered questions from the judge. Unlike his friend, cousin, roommate, and fellow capital murder suspect, 18-year-old Michael Stuart Pritchett (right)– who stared at the ground while answering questions from the judge– Gentry spent most of his two or three minutes looking into the camera as a packed courtroom looked back.

When the judge asked allegedly income-free Pritchett if he has any assets, he said, "The only thing I have is things to sell in order to get money, like a motorcycle."

A jail official told the court that Gentry, by contrast, earns about $300 a week, of which $100 goes to child support for his children.

Substitute judge Jannene L. Shannon ordered the two held without bond and appointed attorney Rhonda Quagliana to defend Pritchett and Lloyd Snook to defend Gentry. Their preliminary hearing will be set on November 29.

As the sobbing woman left the courtroom, she cried out, "I love you, baby." "I love you too," Gentry replied from the video feed.
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Earlier (9:56) this morning: Charlottesville police have arrested two men for the murder of Jayne Warren McGowan, a 26-year-old UVA grad found dead of a gunshot wound to the head Friday afternoon in her home at 807 St. Clair Avenue.

Arrested and charged with capital murder are 22-year-old William Douglas Gentry Jr. and 18-year-old Michael Stuart Pritchett, who both live at 539 Caroline Avenue in Charlottesville. According to the release, police have also recovered two handguns which they believe were used in the commission of the crime.

McGowan's car, stolen from her house during the crime, was discovered Sunday in a wooded area near the Rivanna Trail off Fairway Avenue. The area where the car was discovered can also be accessed by vehicle from Caroline Ave.

City spokesperson Ric Barrick could not immediately be reached for comment, but according to the release, police received a tip late Monday afternoon that led them to Gentry and Pritchett.

25 comments

At the November 5 City Council meeting public comment this matter was brought to the attention of council by Downing Smith of 810 Locust Ave. Mr. Smith called for public transparency and police integrity. 810 Locust is an historic 2 acre property on Locust Ave. Obviously with nearly $3M in total assesed value of all his properties combined, he has a vested interest in how taxes are spent...as in NOT having to defend a lawsuit against police. Downing Smith also owns several other properties in town, one of which is 807 St. Clair Ave. (The home where Jayne McGowan was murdered).

Its almost surreal that he made this comment just a few days before McGowans murder.

Council did not even thank Mr. Smith or comment on the matter. The mayor did respond to some public comments. I recal he said the city should pay for his (the mayor's) trip to France because he could not otherwise afford to go since he has to close his chiropractic office and blah blah blah.

Addition to comment above;

When I said "this matter" I was referring to the Blair Austin matter in which Courtney Stuart has received a subpoena.

But the C-ville police did little to help find the suspects...the stolen car? Citizen tip. The suspects location? Citizen tip.

Don't give CPD too much credit here. If not for citizen tips, they'd likely still be pleading for citizen help.

Tragic, I agree with you. Most criminal cases are solved with citizen tips, the criminal's obvious stupidity in leaving clues a blind elephant couldn't miss, and confessions.

I don't know how or why someone could do something like this. It brings me to tears. I am glad they were caught and I hope they will be punished accordingly. excellent work by the law enforcement and my thoughts and prayers are with the victims and family.

Well, I just want to say thanks and congrats to the police. I was feeling really frustrated, and now boom, they've got these guys. I mean, I know it was a tip that led them there, but still. I feel so awful for Ms. McGowan's family -- as Longo said, you do hope that the arrests give them a little closure, but to have their daughter die this way, at the hands of these...I don't know what to call them...well, it's unimaginable. It's such a cliche, but my thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends.

Whether the criminals were stupid or not, the police deserve a lot of credit and thanks for making an arrest so quickly.
So senseless and so sad.

First, my thoughts and Condolences to the family involved.

Second, I hate to judge a book by it's cover, but look at those two losers....I guess I'm just so livid that 2 men could do such a thing that I'm being a little shallow, but look at those pricks. Surprising they don't have any "assets."

Who gives two s%&$s about William Gentry's girlfriend said in the courtroom too....what a loser for dating a complete POS like that guy.

Wonder what compelled them to do such a thing...Guess it doesn't really matter since they don't value LIFE whatsoever. I really hope they get everything they deserve, and I hope someone on the inside takes care of both of these guys.

You people are cracking me up! LOL!

Did any of you think the suspects would be straight A students home for the weekend from their first year at Harvard college? We all knew it was going to be total losers. And this fact, being total losers, will be part of their defense of course. Misguided young individuals, from a broken home, alcoholic parents or crackhead parents, who never had a chance at life. And all the other baloney their attorneys will come up with. The trial will possibly make you sicker than the crime.

i agree with all the comments above. i only hope the prosecutor recognizes that everyone wants to see justice served-- not some lenient plea deal. if these people are guilty of this crime, they should never again be out on the streets. whether the sentence is life in prison or the death penalty, i leave that to the jury. but i hope the prosecutor truly fulfills his role, and that the judge throws the book at them.

they may have come from unfortunate circumstances but nothing ever justifies killing a person. i dont have pity for them at all. they took one of the most amazing people from the face of the planet, and what do they have to offer the world? looks like nothing. i care less about their silly girlfriends -- these murderers, if indeed they are guilty of this crime, made this decision to take the life of someone on their own. poverty didnt compel them to pull that trigger. if theyd even given jayne a chance, she would have given them the skin off her back.

i hope they go to jail for the rest of their lives, and after that, most likely you know where. people like this are the worst kind. there are tons of folks who grow up in unfortunate circumstances with broken families, but you know what? they dont kill people in cold blood. the trial will make us all sick, but id rather see justice served than these two wastes of life running around on the street shooting more innocent people. the girlfriend is crying probably because she knows her screwy boyfriend killed somebody.

bad reporting. I was in the courtroom, and GENTRY called out "love you baby" to the woman, and she choked out, "...you too" over her shoulder between sobs. not the other way around. geez, that would have made such a better closing setup. if you can't get simple dramatic elemets right, you'll never make it in this biz.

Yes, Inside Track, in those days charges of public drunkeness never went to court. Middle class people were given a ride home and lower class people received a whack with a night stick. We've come a long way!

Girlfriend, eh? I just assumed the sobbing character was his mother, but who knows.
Anyway, nice job with the quick update, Hook staff!

Brava to Courteney Stuart and The Hook for the *excellent* coverage! And as far as giving details of what went on in the courtroom today, J, Courteney's simply being a good reporter: Letting her readers feel, as much as possible, that they were there.

There was never any doubt in my mind that the suspect(s) lived closeby to where the car was abandoned. Criminals are stupid. On the 11th of November I predicted arrests would be made within days based upon the location of the found car as one piece of critical evidence.

Such a senseless stupid murder! Condolences to the family.

So what's the backstory on these scumbags? Give me more, HookBlog!

As I sit here and think of the Jayne that I knew briefly, that my daughter was a good friend and sorority sister to, that I spent a few minutes with just a few weeks ago at an UVA tailgate party, that moved to C'ville from D.C. to give back to her beloved school and city, I just feel sad, sickened and filled with rage. I'm the father of children that mirrow Jayne, that as that father, watch as my new-born baby becomes an infant and begins to mature to do all the things we as parents hope and pray they will do, and then I see all of that snatched away by two apparent members of what I've begun to call "another lost generation." I only grieve for her parents, family and friends who have lost something that should never been taken away by ignorance and violence. We are all left with an empty, gnawing feeling that this will not go away soon, and I hope and pray it doesn't because Jayne's life and commitment to always doing the right thing and caring for the right causes demands that - REST IN PEACE sweet girl. We will all be a little less for not knowing you longer.

http://www.wina.com/ has a picture of one of the suspects.

Channel 29 has pictures of both suspects.

http://www.nbc29.com/

I have nothing to say about these men, the reporting or the PD- that is no way to honor the life of such a loved individual. What I do have to say is Jayne was a wonderful woman who had her whole life ahead of her¢Ã¢â??¬Šshe did not deserve this, nor did her family or friends. If these two men are responsible I hope they spend the rest of their lives feeling nothing but the pain and horror that they have caused others. If they aren't¢Ã¢â??¬”I hope to God that her killer or killers are found and experience the same thing.

These comments reinforce my disbelief in the jury system. Convicted by picture, really. I thought it was a Hansom-Soering type of deed myself.

Girlfriend or mother? Probably one and the same.

There's no way the City will waste money on a trial if the killers are willing to plead guilty--and, as a City taxpayer, I approve. I predict they'll each plead guilty to whatever gets them life in prison instead of the death penalty. The only question will be whether it's with or without the possibility of parole.

If Mr. Smith's father was still the Commonwealth Attorney I bet the charges against Silva and Austin would already have been dropped.