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Man Indicted for July Jewelry Store Murder

by Katie Pyzyk — December 18, 2012 at 9:50 am 7,431 36 Comments

James Sylvester Caroline (photo courtesy ACPD)A grand jury has brought charges against the man suspected of killing a Columbia Pike jewelry store owner in July.

An Arlington County Grand Jury indicted James Sylvester Caroline on capital murder and weapons charges for the murder of Tommy Kin Mo Wong.

Caroline is accused of killing Wong during a robbery of the Capital Jewelers store at 3219 Columbia Pike on the afternoon of July 27. Caroline was arrested just days after the murder during a traffic stop on the Arlington/Alexandria border.

Caroline is set to appear in court on Thursday, December 20, to set a trial date.

  • CW

    Because I am not in the field for a living, I sometimes forget just how embarassingly bad our justice system is. Arrested days after the murder, with video evidence. Chargest filed 4.5 months later. Now they’re thinking about setting a trial date. Maybe they’ll even get around to holding the case at some point. Just great.

    • Douglas Parker

      I definitely agree. I can’t imagine the family having to deal with this at such a slow speed.

    • drax

      It’s good that it’s slow. It means they are taking the time to get it right. Make a mistake or roll over the procedural rights of the accused and you open it to acquittal, or some kind of appeal. It might take a few months or years to send him to prison (or worse) but he’ll be there alot longer.

      • Captain_Obvious

        right, its good to keep families waiting for justice because our system is so clogged.

        • drax

          Sure beats letting him go free.

          And I don’t know whether the delay is due to the system being clogged.

          • Captain_Obvious

            no one said anything about letting him go free. And I’m speaking generally about the justice system being clogged.

          • MC 703

            He meant “letting him go free” in the event that they screw something up by rushing the case prep and he is found not guilty on a technicality or something.

          • Captain_Obvious

            I would never guess what he means in his posts. Nevertheless, if that’s what he means, then obviously, a good lawyer would be thorough enough to not screw something up.

      • 1RLI

        Agreed about taking time so as not to make mistakes, but recall that the Sixth Amendment gives the right to a “speedy” trial. Speedy, of course, is subjective. I wonder if anyone has ever successfully sued/appealled on the grounds that their trial was not conducted in a speedy manner?

        • CW

          Yes, but the fifth says that they cannot be tried for this kind of crime until indicted by a grand jury, right? So, while I’m no legal scholar, I’d imagine that the system has evolved so that they have decided that it’s ok to hold people for however long it takes to do that. Does VA have a statute of limitations on that?

        • drax

          A grand jury isn’t a trial though. They can take as long as they want, I think, to accuse someone of a crime.

        • Tumblebum

          The speedy trial issue goes by the wayside once the defense asks for continuances, etc. I don’t know that to be the case but it appears that it may be.

      • CW

        There are no procedural rights or piles of evidence that should, in a sane world, take months to work through in this sort of case. Maybe in a complex fraud case or something, yes.

        The legal system is like the medical system – those involved known that there is no alternative, they have a monopoly on the services, so there is no incentive to provide better performance.

        • drax

          How long should it take, CW?

          This guy could be executed. Or go free, despite murdering someone. No need to rush the process either way.

          • CW

            Ah yes, the old draxonian reply by rhetorical question. Adds nothing to the conversation, just seeking to contradict anything any other person says.

            I would think that it should take somewhere less than 4.5 months to gather what is needed to bring a person caught on video murdering someone to trial.

          • CW

            Oops, forget and made a dirty! My response had the poster’s name in it, so you know where it is now!

          • drax

            Huh?

            How long should it take, CW?

          • Captain_Obvious

            I a m s t i l l w a i t i n g f o r m y c o m m e n t t o s h o w u p 4 5 m i n u t e s a f t e r I s u b m i t t e d i t a n d i t h a d n o n a m e s i n i t.

    • Quoth the Raven

      Well, it might be a bit slow, but when compared to other countries, it’s light years better. Would you prefer a public execution 3 days after the arrest?

      • CW

        Ah yes, the old “we’re better than Somalia, would you prefer a witch trial” response. No, I didn’t say we were the worst in the world, and I didn’t say that I would like a sham trial with no preparation and no evidence. I think that an improvement upon what we have now, while preserving due process, could be possible.

        • Quoth the Raven

          Now you’re backtracking a bit – you started by saying US system is “embarassingly bad”, but now “an improvement….could be possible.” That’s quite a difference. I would venture to say that most would agree that an improvement could be possible. But “embarassingly bad” is just way too strong, especially when compared to the vast majority of other nations.

          • CW

            Ok, embarassingly bad considering we’re supposed to be the shining beacon of democracy and leader of the free world. Is that sufficient qualification?

          • Quoth the Raven

            I think it’s still too strong. If the delay were for a year or more, I think you’d have better support for your position. But we’re talking just a few months, and we don’t know how involved the investigation took (for example, forensic examination, if any, takes time), how long the grand jury took, etc. For all we know, his defense attorney was on vacation and they had to wait for him to get back. All in all, I just don’t think the delay is too horrible.
            (Caveat – I was a criminal prosecutor for 5 years, so take my opinion on this with a big grain of salt. I probably just killed my argument, but I thought it’d be fair to mention it).

          • CW

            Haha, no, you made me respect your argument more. I appreciate transparency, and I certainly admitted my lack of in-person experience with the legal system above, so there are plenty of things that I have not had the chance to come to “appreciate” myself.

    • ARL-VA

      As long as the suspect is biding his time in jail, I don’t care that much about how long it takes. He’s not out there roaming the streets, and the process is moving forward, although at a slow pace. Good enough for me.

      As long as they keep him locked up, and get the entire process right, I don’t see a problem.

  • novasteve

    Funny how Patrick Moran had the system work so quickly for him in DC

    • UptonHiller

      Anybody read his apology on the patch site? What a pant load.

  • Truth

    You’re talking about a misdemanor battery charge vs. a capital murder charge. Murder cases always take this long, how is this new to you? Sure, going through the motions and evidence shouldn’t take this long for one case, but it appears you’ve forgotten this is not the only case in the court system. You do realize he could get the death penalty? Typically, that isn’t the kind of case you want to rush through.

    • novasteve

      She easily could have died from having her head shoved into something.

      • ARL’er

        Huh?

      • Truth

        You’re right, but she didn’t. If she did, this would (i hope) at least be a manslaughter charge, and the trial would still be in it’s preliminary stages. The fact is, misdemeanor cases move more quickly than potential death penalty cases, which I assumed most people understood. I was wrong.

  • bulb

    Sad. It was just a week or so ago I saw some people cleaning out / packing up some shelves, furniture, etc. from the store on Columbia Pike.

  • willuam Bennet XVIII

    The Arlington Grand Jury is no As Seen On TV. In fact it has no legal standing. It us solely for intimidation

    • Tumblebum

      What?

  • PMoran

    Anyone heard from my brah Trev?

  • former john

    What I want to know is when is ACPD going to do some more prostitution stings? At least they are great at.doing those right and VA court system delivers justice right away!

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