Family and jury members cry at Petersburg quad-murder trial

PETERSBURG, Va. – It was an emotional day inside Petersburg Circuit Court, during day two of testimony in the quadruple murder trial of Alexander Hill Jr.

Both jurors and family members had a visible reaction to police crime scene video shown in the courtroom. At least two family members left, while many others teared up and could be heard quietly sobbing.

The video showed the bodies of four family members killed on April 19, 2014 in a home on Harding Street in Petersburg.

Victims in the quadruple murder were Pauline Wilkins, her daughter Vicki Chavis Ansar, granddaughter Tanique Davis and great grandson Delvari Chavis; they were aged 67, 46, 22, and 2-year-old, respectively.

Hill’s connection to victims is that he was an ex-boyfriend of Vivian Chavis, who lived at the home, but was not there when the violence unfolded.

Several jurors could also be seen wiping away tears.

Family murdered in Petersburg

Photographs of evidence collected at the scene were also shown to jurors, which included two knives -- one with a red substance on the blade -- and pictures of two cellphones, icluding one which is believed to have been used by Tanniqua Chavis.

Chavis called 911 when someone broke into the home early that morning.

Police said Pauline Wilkins and Vicki Ansar were stabbed to death. Tannique and two year old Delvari  died from smoke and fire.

In testimony Friday morning, fire officials told the jury their investigation found fires were started in three different areas of the house, including near the front and back doors.

And at least three accelerants, including gasoline and kerosene, were used to ignite those fires.

Judge Joseph Teefy admonished both the Commonwealth and Defense today for the slow pace of the trial.

He also said in his pre-trial order he expected all exhibits to be bound, submitted and seen by opposing counsel before the trial started.

And he told both sides to have everything submitted to the clerk by Monday.

If convicted Hill faces life in prison. The capital murder trial will no longer be a death penalty case, according to prosecutors. Prosecutors declined to say why they were no longer pursuing the death penalty, citing pre-trial publicity which could influence potential jurors.

The trial is expected to last 10 days and dozens of witnesses will testify.

Hill was the subject of a nationwide manhunt after the murders.

Hill was captured in a homeless shelter at a church in Buffalo, New York in April 2015.