WENTWORTH — Timothy Caesar Blanks, charged with the Feb. 10 first-degree murder of Reidsville’s Brandon James Rose, 34, and the attempted murder of his sister, Meghann Rose McKinney, 38, also of Reidsville, made an initial appearance in Rockingham County District Court Monday.

He was appointed an attorney and denied bail.

Blanks, 37, of Bassett, Virginia, arrested and charged Feb. 10 with the Eden Inn shooting crimes, has yet to enter a plea and his next court date is pending.

Reidsville defense attorney Jason Ross is expected to represent Blanks, who had been held in the Henry County jail in Virginia until he was extradited to Rockingham County on Friday.

He remains in the county jail in Wentworth.

Stable, but likely permanently paralyzed in her lower extremities, McKinney will require care at a regional hospital for at least another month, said a close family friend, who asked not to be named.

Witnesses said they watched Blanks fire some 16 bullets from a hand gun through the window of the parked black SUV in which the victims sat in the parking lot of Eden Inn at 213 S. Van Buren Road in Eden.

Rose and McKinney appeared to be arguing when Blanks drove up in a white pick-up truck beside their parked vehicle, rapped on their window, then began firing around 8:30 p.m, said Jamie Chavis, 31, who lives at the motel and watched the crime from his window.

However, a close friend of the Rose family said Monday that the Rose siblings were not arguing, but simply waiting in the vehicle while their female driver popped in to visit her friend at the motel.

The family friend said the SUV driver had no connection to Blanks and that Rose and McKinney had never seen or heard of Blanks before he allegedly shot them.

They were “in the wrong place at the wrong time,’’ the friend said.

Chavis said his pit bull alerted him to conflict, and he saw a gunman pull out a pistol and fire at least 16 shots into the SUV.

Describing the shooter as about 40 years old, Chavis said the assailant reloaded his gun with a clip after exhausting his first round of ammunition. “He was stone cold ... killer face like he did not care,’’ he said.

After the gunman sped away, Chavis rushed out to the victims and found McKinney unresponsive and bleeding in the front passenger’s seat, he said.

Rose, who appeared deceased, was in the back seat, said Chavis, who gave a formal statement to Eden police.

While friends and family members attended Rose’s funeral on Sunday in Reidsville, his critically injured sister remained in the hospital. The family asked that her location be withheld for safety reasons.

Friends close to the Rose family said McKinney, mother of a 4-year-old daughter, will likely suffer paralysis of her lower extremities as a result of injuries from two gunshot wounds.

Surgeons last week removed McKinney’s damaged spleen, as well as a portion of her liver, the source said, characterizing McKinney as “very depressed.’’

Rose, a father of sons, ages, 12, 10, and 8, had worked for several years as an electrician for Electric Systems Inc. of Reidsville.

Get today’s top stories right in your inbox. Sign up for our daily morning newsletter.

Susie C. Spear is a staff writer for RockinghamNow. She can be reached at 743-333-4101 and on Twitter @SusieSpear_RCN.

Load comments