NORTON, Va. (WJHL) – The man accused of shooting Norton Police Chief James Lane in May 2021 has been found guilty on multiple charges.
According to the Wise County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office, James Buckland was found guilty of attempted aggravated murder, aggravated malicious wounding, and other charges.
Buckland’s trial began Thursday with jury selection. The trial was scheduled to potentially last until Friday.
Buckland’s charges stem from a shooting on May 7, 2021 when Norton police, including Lane, responded to the Walmart in Norton after receiving a call about a possible shoplifter. Lane was shot during the incident and hospitalized for weeks.
“I would like to thank everyone for their hard work and dedication in securing justice in this case,” Chief Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Steven Davis said in a release. “Our community is blessed to have public servants of such caliber as Chief James Lane and Sheriff Jason McConnell, and I would like to commend their heroic efforts on May 7, 2021, in addition to the days, months, and years that have followed.”
Chuck Slemp, Virginia’s Chief Deputy Attorney General and Wise County’s former commonwealth attorney was the original prosecutor on the case. He said he was personally impacted by the case as Chief Lane is a friend of his.
“Chief Lane is a respected law enforcement officer and a community leader, somebody that is loved and admired, not just for his public service, but his faith and his commitment” said Slemp.
“I responded to the scene and was just so broken to see someone who I cared about victimized as the victim of this senseless tragedy.”
Slemp said evidence was presented to the jury on Monday.
“So thankful for the verdict and and the jury and them taking the time to listen to the evidence,” Slemp said. “And also thanks to the prosecutors and witnesses who spent their time to make sure the justice was done.”
Slemp said the swift actions of Sheriff McConnell and the resilience of Chief Lane is an inspiration. He said he is proud of Chief Lane’s recovery.
“He’s lived through that, pushed through that not for his own glory, but because he cares about Southwest Virginia, he cares about Norton, he cares about public safety,” Slemp said. “And we should all take a lesson from him.”
A sentencing hearing for Buckland, who is being held at the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail in Duffield, is scheduled for Jan. 9. He faces up to two life sentences plus 11 years, according to the commonwealth’s attorney’s office.