Trial Dates Set for Sterling Murder Case

Two years will have passed before the two men charged in the July 2020 murder of a 24-year-old Winchester man face trials.

Gavin Collins and Joshua Hunter are charged with first-degree murder, robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery, and two counts of using a firearm while in the commission of a felony in the July 8, 2020 shooting death of Jose I. Escobar Menendez in Sterling.

New trial dates have been set in the cases. Collins is scheduled for a 15-day jury trial beginning Aug. 8, 2022. Hunter’s three-week trial is scheduled to follow Oct. 3-21. Both trials previously were scheduled for last spring, but were delayed because a key witness could not be present.

According to witness testimony during the preliminary hearing, Menendez traveled from Winchester to Sterling early that morning to meet up with a friend he had recently met. Detectives allege that Collins and Hunter arrived at the Village at Potomac Falls apartment complex at about 1:55 a.m., at which point an area resident testified she heard at least two people start talking, then yelling before she heard a “pop.” At about 3:10 a.m., another resident noticed Menendez’s body lying in the street along Emerald Point Terrace near the intersection with Winding Road with blood surrounding it.

Collins and Hunter were arrested days after the shooting and remain held in jail.

One thought on “Trial Dates Set for Sterling Murder Case

  • 2021-10-19 at 6:21 pm

    This is a dreadful case. I know Mr. Menendez’s friends believe he was the victim of a hate crime. Can we get some type of explanation from the Sheriff’s Office and/or Commonwealth Attorney as to why the alleged murderers haven’t been charged with hate crimes? At the very least, was the incident reported to the FBI as a hate crime? That information is vital so the FBI can release an accurate Annual Report of Hate Crimes in America. To the family & friends of Mr. Menendez, please accept my deepest condolences. May justice be served.

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