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Case against alleged gunman moves to trial after break down of Facebook fight leading to gunfire

PORTSMOUTH, Va. – After four people were accused of organizing a fight that led to the death of a Portsmouth mother, they faced a judge for a hearing Wednesday.

Jennifer Bartell

The victim in the case, 39-year-old Jennifer Bartell, was killed outside her own home. She was a mother of six children.

Of the people who have been charged, the alleged gunman Joshua Bowen, is the only one who had his preliminary hearing on Wednesday. Bowen remains in custody, while the alleged accomplices are out on bond.

Charges for 40-year-old Shaunicka M. Cooley, 19-year-old Albany L. Pierce and 38-year-old Shyrayno M. Jackson all had charges nolle prossed, meaning they will likely be directly indicted to the Grand Jury. All face an accessory to murder charge.

At the preliminary hearing for Bowen began, News 3 learned a few comments made on Facebook Live actually started a fight between a friend of the one of the victim's daughters and Pierce.

The girls were trying to meet up to fight about it but Pierce and her boyfriend, Joshua Bowen, were reportedly at Bartell's home a few times leading up to the fight, according to evidence in court.

A witness told the judge she and Pierce were physically fighting when someone started firing shots. This witness said that is when she and Bartell's daughter realized Jennifer Bartell had been hit.

On March 14, police responded to Cushing Street for a shooting. There they found 39-year-old Jennifer Bartell with gunshot wounds to her torso. A medical examiner ruled a gunshot to her left shoulder killed her.

In court a section of a Facebook Live video was played where gunshots can be heard. Defense counsel argued Bartell had a gun and was approaching the fight, prompting Bowen to shoot.

Shortly after the shooting, detectives arrested and charged 20-year-old Joshua L. Bowen with first-degree murder and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. They believe Bowen was the gunman.

News 3 spoke to Bartell’s family after her alleged gunman was in court. They want justice for Bartell's young children and were happy to know the judge listened to the evidence presented. They plan to see the court proceedings through.

Bartell's mother told News 3 she truly cannot believe this senseless act all started over social media.