By Alexandra Bogdanovic
A Fauquier County grand jury on Monday indicted Judy Kay Deal, 57, of Amissville, on one count of first degree murder and one count of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.
The panel that heard evidence in the case handed down direct indictments on both counts.
That means authorities took the case straight to the grand jury instead of making an arrest, then having General District Court hearings to determine whether there is sufficient probable cause to pursue the charges.
The charges stem from a Nov. 20 incident at a Crest Hill Road home near Hume. Lt. James Hartman of the Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office said deputies sent to the residence for a reported shooting around 4:33 p.m. that day found two victims inside the residence.
They determined that one, a man identified as John Michael Deal, 60, died from gunshot wounds to the torso, Hartman said.
A woman, identified as Judy Kay Deal, also suffered a gunshot wound to the head, he said.
Judy Deal was airlifted to INOVA Fairfax Hospital where she had emergency surgery, Hartman said.
Hartman said the initial assessment determined the incident appeared to be domestic in nature, but declined to elaborate at the time because the investigation was ongoing.
During the investigation, Fauquier detectives filed a search warrant affidavit in Circuit Court.
In the portion of the document detailing probable cause, detective Mark L. Jones said a family member who called 911 reported hearing shots being fired inside the residence after “a heated argument between a male and female.”
The first deputies on the scene discovered the man had already died and that the woman had life-threatening injuries, Jones said.
The “preliminary conditions of the scene and witness interviews indicate a possible murder-suicide scenario,” Jones said.
Neither victim had previous contact with law enforcement, and there is no record of any prior domestic disturbances at the residence, according to Hartman.
Investigators recovered a handgun.
In the days immediately following the shooting, one long-time neighbor tried to make sense of what happened.
Lesley Guberman, who saw the police and fire and rescue vehicles when she came home from a trip Nov. 20, said she’s lived near the Deals for about 30 years, but didn’t know them very well.
Guberman never witnessed anything unusual at her neighbors’ home, but said the family did have guns and often did “target practice” in the backyard.
She last spoke to Judy Deal over the summer.
“Judy and John had been separated but they never divorced,” she said. “For some reason it seemed to me they were still in love with each other.”
Now being held in a facility in Winchester, Judy Deal is still recovering from her injury.