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Attorney: Prior record played role in denied bond for suspected teen shooter

COLONIAL HEIGHTS, Va. -- The man accused of killing a 16-year-old Colonial Heights high school student on Christmas eve appeared in court for the first time Wednesday morning.

Jeffrey Kyle Stephenson, 23, is facing second degree murder and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony charges in connection with the death of 16-year-old Ian Butler.

According to court documents, Stephenson told detectives he was hanging out and smoking weed at Butler’s house on Riverview Road in Colonial Heights on Christmas Eve.

Jeffrey Kyle Stephenson

Documents show that Stephenson also told detectives he placed a "live round" in an air gun and went to holster the air gun when it discharged, striking Butler. Police say Stephenson and another person took Butler to the hospital in the Tri-Cities where Butler later died.

Wednesday morning, during Stephenson’s first court appearance, he got an attorney and a judge ordered Stephenson to be held without bond at the Riverside Regional Jail.

Gray Collins, the Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney for Colonial Heights, says Stephenson's prior record played a factor when the judge denied his bond.

“His prior record, which the judge was aware of… he had a prior brandishing with a firearm, he had two prior assaults, he had three prior probation violations which shows he has a propensity to not listen to the court,” Collins said.

Ian Butler

Stephenson's next court appearance is on January 25 at the Colonial Heights Juvenile Domestic Relations Court.

Family friends established a GoFundMe to help out Ian's family with funeral expenses.

Mom: "Ian took a bullet to save his best friend"

Sherrie Davis said her son was with his best friend Sunday night when a man showed up at the house, pulled out a gun, and pointed it at Ian's friend.

She said in Ian's last moments, he saved his friend's life.

"Ian took a bullet to save his best friend," she said. "He was always so caring and loving and put others before him."

Sherrie Davis and Ian Butler

Colonial Heights Police Capt. William Anspach did not offer the details Davis shared, but confirmed Sunday night that a man did show up at the Riverview Road home just before 6 p.m. Christmas Eve, displayed a handgun, and shot the teenager.

Police called the suspect and victim acquaintances.

"My heart is broken and I’m lost without him," his mother said. "He was amazing. He loved baseball. He wanted to be a professional and was so good. He was loving and kind and worried about me."