Man pleads innocent in re-enactment shooting

Published 9:30 am Saturday, April 11, 2009

ISLE OF WIGHT—A 29-year-old Norfolk man has pleaded not guilty in the accidental wounding of a 73-year-old Civil War re-enactor in September.

Joshua Owen Silva was arraigned Wednesday in Isle of Wight County Circuit Court. He is charged with reckless handling of a firearm, a Class 1 misdemeanor. The charge carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $2,500 fine.

A trial has been set for June 24.

“It’s possible this case could be ended by a plea agreement, with him entering a plea of guilty to a charge,” Isle of Wight Commonwealth’s Attorney Wayne Farmer said Friday. “It would be incorrect to say there haven’t been discussions about that. Certainly we have talked to his attorney, but there have been no agreements reached at this time. Right now it’s set for trial, and we have to proceed as if it’s going to trial.”

Farmer said Silva’s attorney is Antoinette Tucker, a public defender. Tucker could not be reached for comment Friday.

The charge stems from an incident at Heritage Park on Sept. 27 during the filming of a Civil War documentary. Thomas R. Lord Sr., a Union re-enactor from Suffolk, was shot in the back with a pistol. A .45-caliber lead ball went through Lord’s shoulder blade and exited his chest. He was transported by helicopter to a hospital in Norfolk for treatment and released two days later.

Investigators were able to identify a man who allegedly fired the shot by looking through 10 minutes to 15 minutes of footage from at least two cameras. They questioned that man, whom police believed to be a walk-on in a Confederate uniform and not a re-enactor, on Oct. 31. It was not clear if Silva was the man who was questioned by investigators.

A grand jury directly indicted Silva on Jan. 12. He voluntarily surrendered to authorities on Jan. 22.

Alderwerks, a Virginia Beach production company, was shooting the documentary about the 1864 Overland Campaign. Casting VA of Washington, D.C., handled the casting, and Matt Burchfield was the director for the film.