Leesburg man pleads guilty in death of JMU student Hailey Moore

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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — UPDATE (Sept. 19, 2017):

A Virginia man has pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the 2016 death of JMU freshman Hailey Moore.

Joseph Fondaco was arrested last September, nearly a year after Moore's death, and charged with second-degree murder.

He also pleaded guilty to charges of distributing marijuana and manufacturing a controlled substance.

Through the guilty plea, a potential 40-year prison term was reduced to a sentence of 25 years with all but six months suspended.

He would have faced a murder trial on February 26.

WHSV has reached out to Commonwealth Attorney Marsha Garst for more details. Police previously had not released Moore's cause of death while a toxicology report was being processed.

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A grand jury indicted a man at Rockingham County Circuit Court on Monday almost ten months after the death of JMU freshman Hailey Moore.

Commonwealth's Attorney Marsha Garst confirmed Joseph Fondaco of Leesburg is charged with second-degree murder in connection to the death of 18-year-old Moore.

Last November, Moore was found unresponsive by her friends and taken to Sentara RMH.

Moore's cause of death, along with the results of her toxicology report, have not been released by police.

Toxicology reports take months to process, which police reiterated to WHSV last year when rumors arose that her death had resulted from a drug overdose.

Police also said in November that foul play was suspected.

WHSV spoke with Moore's mother on the phone on Tuesday.

"We feel like it's still a long road. That's just the first step of probably many steps that will happen," said Julie Moore. "You know, no matter what happens, it's not going to bring my daughter back. But, we have the most confidence in the justice system and the Commonwealth's Attorney in Harrisonburg."

Julie Moore said she hopes more people will learn to look out for one another in dangerous situations otherwise her daughter might still be here.

Court documents also tell us Fondaco is facing charges of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, as well as manufacturing a controlled substance.

Fondaco is scheduled to appear in court again for a hearing on September 25th. He is being held without bond.