A felony homicide charge against a Fredericksburg man was dropped Tuesday in Fredericksburg Circuit Court.

Kevin Christopher Hoover, 31, was indicted in December by a city grand jury on a charge of felony homicide, which carries a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison. The charge stemmed from the Jan. 28, 2019, death of 28-year-old Matthew Pratt, who was found in his Manassas home after using heroin he allegedly purchased in Fredericksburg from Hoover.

Defense attorney Mark Murphy produced case law that he argued showed that the felony murder charge against Hoover was "unsustainable as a matter of law." Murphy said that the allegation that the drug purchase occurred in Fredericksburg while the death took place in Manassas makes the felony murder charge legally improper.

Prosecutor Justin Witt reluctantly agreed after reading and hearing Murphy's arguments and dropped the charge.

Hoover, who is free on bond, is far from being out of legal hot water. He is still charged with distributing illegal drugs, a charge that also carries a possible prison term of between five and 40 years.

A three-day trial is scheduled to start April 14 in Fredericksburg, but that date is likely to change as part of the numerous scheduling adjustments being made statewide as the result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Keith Epps: 540/374-5404

kepps@freelancestar.com

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