Discovery is now under way in the capital murder case involving 53-year-old James Sylvester Caroline.
Caroline, of Washington, is accused of shooting a 52-year-old Herndon man to death during the robbery of a Columbia Pike jewelry store in July.
Prosecutors and defense attorneys can begin the pre-trial work necessary to discover the relevant facts of the case following a hearing Thursday in Arlington Circuit Court.
An Arlington County Grand Jury indicted Caroline on capital murder and weapons charges earlier this week.
Thursday, Arlington Circuit Judge Louise DiMatteo set a status date of April 17 — a hearing at which point the trial date will be set.
Given the possibility of the death sentence upon conviction, capital cases tend to be lengthy.
"Capital cases do take longer than your typical criminal case," Commonwealth's Attorney Theo Stamos told Patch. "I don't know about years, but they do move more deliberately."