Current Death Row Inmates in Virginia

Current Death Row Inmates in Virginia:

On this page, you will find the listing of all inmates under state (as well as a few under federal) death sentences for crimes committed in Virginia. The cases are listed in order of date of sentencing. Additionally, the aggravating factors which warranted the death sentence are listed under crime.

Name Jurisdiction Crime Date Entered
Cory Johnson
James Roane Jr.
Richard Tipton
Richmond (federal conviction) murder 7-2-97

These men, members of the violent ‘Newtowne Gang’ drug dealing group, were convicted under a 1989 federal statute that allowed federal prosecutors to seek the death penalty for slayings that aided a continuing criminal drug enterprise. While the capital punishment drug count has been used, this trial marked the first time it had been directed against multiple defendants. The case also has been hailed as one of the largest death penalty cases in the United States. Newtowne is a tiny area of the much larger Richmond neighborhood of Carver. Richmond police named the gang because much of its operations were in the Newtowne area. Richmond police officers say Newtowne gang members killed at least 11 people during a 45-day period in January and February of 1996.

Percy Walton Danville murder 3x, robbery 10-31-1997

Percy Walton was convicted and sentenced to death in 1997 for the brutal 1996 murders of three of his neighbors in Danville. The physical evidence, such as the possession of items with victim’s blood spots on them, ATM cards and car keys, clearly point to Walton’s sole culpability in this crime. Two of his victims, Jessie and Elizabeth Kendrick, both in their 80’s, died after being shot at close range in the head as they pleaded for their lives while on their hands and knees. Walton first tried to slash Jessie’s throat, but gave up and used the gun instead to finish the job, laughing as he pulled the trigger. A few days later, Walton murdered another neighbor, 33 year old Archie Moore in a similar manner.

Aquilla Barnett Roanoke
(federal conviction)
murder 4-10-98

Aquilla Barnett was convicted of killing Donald Lee Allen in Charlotte and Robin Williams in Roanoke, Va., in 1996. In a 20-minute confession on the day of his arrest, Barnett told a Charlotte homicide investigator that he drove to Roanoke in the early morning hours of June 22, 1996, and chased his former girlfriend, Williams, from her mother’s house with a sawed-off shotgun. Earlier that morning, he waited with the same shotgun near a Charlotte intersection. When Allen, 22, of McConnells, S.C., stopped for a red light, Barnett ordered him out of the car, forced him into a nearby drainage ditch and fatally shot him as he begged for his life.

Daryl Atkins York Co. murder, robbery 4-28-98

Daryl Atkins was convicted and sentenced to death for the robbery and capital murder of Eric Nesbitt. On the afternoon of August 16, 1996, Atkins and his friend, William Jones, were drinking and smoking marijuana at Atkins’ home. Later that evening Atkins and Jones walked to a nearby convenience store to buy more beer. In the parking lot of the store, Atkins told Jones that he did not have enough money and would panhandle to get the money for the beer. Shortly afterwards, Atkins and Jones encountered and abducted Eric Nesbitt, an Air Force airman who was driving home after finishing work at his second job at a Hampton auto parts store. After forcing him to drive to an ATM to withdraw a large sum of money, Atkins and Jones directed to an isolated field near the Colonial Parkway in York County, where Atkins shot Nesbitt 8 times at close range. Prior to this crime, Atkins had accumulated numerous felony convictions.

Brandon Hedrick Appomattox murder, rape, robbery 7-22-98

Brandon Hedrick was convicted of capital murder in Appomattox County for the 1997 murder of Lisa Crider from Lynchburg, whose body was abandoned in James River State Park. Hedrick and a friend, Trevor Jones, killed Crider after raping and robbing her. The two had solicited sex from her earlier in the evening in Lynchburg, and then robbed her, thinking she had crack in her possession. They drove around with her for several hours before deciding to kill her. Hedrick and Jones were later apprehended in Nebraska.

Darrick Walker Henrico murder, multiple homicides 10-21-98

A Richmond Circuit Court jury recommended the death penalty for Darrick Demorris Walker, whom kicked in doors and shot and killed two men (Stanley Beale and Clarence Threat) in front of their families in November 1996 and June 1997. The jury also recommended that Walker serve life terms for breaking into the two apartments and 18 years in prison for using a firearm in the murders and the burglaries.

Robert Yarbrough Mecklenburg murder, robbery 1-20-99

Robert Yarborough was convicted in the homicide of South Hill resident Cyril H. Hamby, aged 77. On May 9, 1997. Yarborough entered the small convenience store owned and operated by the victim, announced it was a robbery and then bound his victim by his hands and feet. Although Hamby offered no resistance, Yarborough used his knife to cut around Hamby’s neck, nearly decapitating him and subsequently causing him to bleed to death on the floor.

Richard Stitt Portsmouth
murder 2-24-99

Evidence presented at trial showed that Richard Stitt, 25, also known as "Tom-Tom” and “Death,” ran a violent drug gang that preyed on Portsmouth’s low-income housing areas for much of the past decade. Stitt ordered murders and assaults to protect his territory and intimidate witnesses. He was tried and convicted by a federal jury in Norfolk. A career criminal, Stitt was portrayed at trial as an unredeemable psychopath who would continue his killing, assaults and drug dealing in prison. The jury in November recommended three death sentences, one for each victim Stitt had ordered killed.

William Burns Shenandoah County murder/rape 5-12-00

William Burns was convicted of the capital murder of his mother in law, Tersey Elizabeth Cooley, in the commission of rape, statutory burglary, and forcible sodomy. In the days leading up to the killing, Burns had been arguing fiercely with his wife, Penny. On September 21, 1998, Penny’s sister, Linda, found their mother, in her home, and phoned the police. The police arrived and found that Cooley had injuries to her head and 24 rib fractures. An autopsy revealed that the cause of death was blunt force trauma to Cooley’s chest, resulting in the rupture of her heart, and compression of her neck. Sheriff Green set up a road block to ascertain if any drivers had traveled through the area during the time of the murder. Burns drove up during that time and was taken to the police station for fingerprinting. Burns also consented to give samples of hair and bodily fluids. The results of DNA tests done on those samples implicated that Burns had killed Cooley.

John Schmitt Chesterfield Co. murder/robbery 6-15-00

John Yancey Schmitt was sentenced to death for the murder of a security guard in the commission of a bank robbery. Schmitt was 25 years old a the time of the crime. Schmitt murdered Shelton Earl Dunning, a security guard at Nations Bank in Bon Air, on February 17, 1999. Witnesses testified that Schmitt entered the bank wearing sunglasses, which attracted Dunning’s attention. Dunning followed Schmitt into the building where Schmitt stepped toward Dunning and shot him twice. Schmitt then brandished a gun and demanded money from the bank tellers. Schmitt fled the bank with more than $35,000. He was arrested three days later with the money in his possession. In addition to the death sentence, Schmitt received a 118 year prison sentence for charges related to the murder and robbery.

Kevin Green Brunswick Co. murder, robbery 10-6-00

Kevin Green was convicted for his role in the August, 1998 slayings of Patricia Vaughn and Lawrence Vaughn in the Dolphin area convenience store that they owned. Testimony in the trial indicated that Kevin Green and his nephew David Green walked into the store, and the younger man appeared headed toward the drink case. But, without a word, Kevin Green opened fire on the couple. Patricia Vaughan, 53, was shot once in the temple, twice in the chest and once in the lower abdomen. Her husband was hit in the neck and elbow, and managed to pull a telephone down and dial 911 to call for help. Both died at the scene.

Michael Lenz Augusta Co. murder of inmate 10-20-00

Michael Lenz and fellow inmate Jeffrey Remington were convicted of murdering Brent Henry Parker, 41, a fellow inmate at the Augusta Correctional Center on January 16, 2000. Lenz was serving 29 years for contributing to the delinquency of a minor, four counts of statutory burglary and one count of weapon possession when the murder occurred. Remington was incarcerated on unspecified charges. The homicide occurred during a meeting between inmates who claimed to be followers of a religion called Asatru, were attending a meeting of their "Ironwood Kindred." They were able to hold this meeting in a room with the door closed, as VADOC permits for religious ceremonies. However, an unarmed guard soon saw the two inmates stabbing Parker, who was laying on the floor in a fetal position. By the time backup had arrived to intervene between the five inmates present, Parker was dead, having been stabbed 68 times. Both Lenz and Remington were sentenced to death after separate trials. Remington committed suicide while incarcerated in 2004.

Edward Bell Winchester capital murder, killing a law enforcement officer in line of duty 5-30-01

Edward Bell, an illegal alien and drug dealer from Jamaica, fatally shot Officer Ricky Timbrook of the Winchester Police Department as he was being chased in October, 1999. Timbrook had previously arrested Bell on drug dealing charges and Bell sought vengeance specifically against the highly respected officer. Timbrook was Winchester’s first officer slain in the line of duty. ( tribute to Officer Timbrook )

William Morrisette Hampton capital murder/rape 10-30-01

On July 25th, 1980, Dorothy "Dottie" White, was found stabbed to death in her Hampton mobile home. The 47-year-old bank worker had been raped and stabbed eight times. In 1999, White’s sister-in-law, asked Hampton police to do DNA tests on evidence from White’s slaying. William Morrisette is arrested after DNA from the crime scene matches his which was in the state felon DNA database. In August, 2001 Morrisette was convicted of raping and killing White. The jury recommended Morrisette should die for his crimes.

Christopher Emmett Danville capital murder/robbery 11-03-01
Executed 7/24/08

Christopher Scott Emmett was convicted in October 2001 of the April 27, 2001, capital murder and robbery of his co-worker, John Langley, in Danville, Virginia. Jurors heard a taped confession in which Emmett admitted striking Langley in the head with a lamp in the motel room they were sharing. Emmett killed Langley, robbed him of $100, bought and smoked crack cocaine, and then called the police to report that something had happened to his roommate. On November 2, 2001, Emmett was sentenced to death.

Justin Wolfe Prince William Co. murder for hire 6-26-02

Justin Wolfe, a 21 year old suburban drug dealer, hired another individual to serve as a hit man upon rival dealer Daniel Petriole, whom Wolfe owed money. Petriole was followed home and murdered in a hail of bullets outside his Bristow area townhouse.

Kent Jackson Newport News murder, robbery 3-14-03
Executed 7/10/08

BeulahMaeKaiserKent Jackson was convicted for his role in the April, 2000 murder and robbery of 78 year old Beulah Kaiser. She was sexually assaulted by an accomplice of Jackson and then had her walking cane jammed down her throat. The cane was found still lodged in her throat when the body was later discovered by police. During the trial, prosecutors presented a taped confession Kent Jackson made to police and DNA evidence linking him to blood found on a sock. The accomplice in the crime was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Jerry Jackson Williamsburg murder, rape, robbery 4-5-03

Jerry Jackson, aged 21, was sentenced to death for the rape, robbery and murder of Ruth Phillips, an 88-year-old James City County woman in her apartment. Jackson became a suspect after his fingerprints were found in the victim’s apartment. Confronted with that evidence, Jackson confessed to police but recanted most of the confession at trial. He admitted breaking into Ruth Phillips’ apartment the weekend of August 25, 2001, but said an accomplice smothered her. He also testified that no one raped the woman. However, his pubic hairs were found on Phillips’ body and bed sheet.

Paul Powell Prince William Co. capital murder during attempted rape 5-07-03

Paul Powell brutally stabbed 16 year old Stacie Reed on January 29, 1999 after attempting to rape her in her Manassas Park home. He then proceeded to brutally attack her 14 year old sister Kristie a few hours later. Kristie was bound at the hands and feet with her own shoe laces, disrobed, choked until the passed out, raped and then had her throat and wrists slashed multiple times. Miraculously, she survived the attack and was able to identify Powell as the attacker. After having his first death sentence overturned on a procedural matter by the Virginia Supreme Court, Powell faced a maximum of a life sentence for the murder of Stacie Reed (he was already serving three life sentences for the crimes against Kristie). However, the week after the favorable ruling in October, 2001, Powell wrote a vile, profane letter to Commonwealth’s Attorney Paul Ebert, bragging about how he had attempted to rape Stacie (circumstances not previously known about the case) and how he believed he was shielded from a new capital murder trial on that charge on the basis of double jeopardy. Ebert realized he had not tried Powell for murder with rape of Stacie Reed, so he withdrew the original charge and tried Powell again in January, 2003. The jury returned with a second death sentence for the unrepentant Powell. (tribute to Stacie Reed )

Larry Elliott Prince William Co. capital murder 2x 5-22-03

Larry Elliott, aged 53, became obsessed with Rebecca Gragg, a much younger woman whom he had met on an adult internet matchmaking service. After an intimate relationship followed by lavish spending by Elliott on her behalf, Gragg mentioned to Elliott that she was having problems in a child custody battle with her ex-husband, Robert Finch. On January 2, 2001, Elliott, a former Army counterintelligence expert, broke into Finch’s Woodbridge townhouse. He had never met Robert Finch, 30, previously, as he shot Finch execution-style in the doorway and then severely beat his female acquaintance Dana Thrall, 25, when she stumbled upon the killing. After Thrall was beaten, she was fatally shot four times in the face after the killer reloaded the revolver used on Finch. Using circumstantial evidence — no one saw Elliott enter or leave the home, and the gun was not recovered — prosecutors convinced jurors that Elliott killed Finch and Thrall. DNA (in the form of blood drops) placed Elliott at the scene, and witnesses testified that they saw Elliott lurking near the townhouse that night.

Teresa Lewis (female) Pittsylvania Co. capital murder (2x), contract killing 6-02-03

Teresa Lewis, 34, pleaded guilty to two counts of capital murder and two counts of conspiracy to commit murder after admitting she hired two men to kill her husband, Julian Lewis, and her stepson, C.J. Lewis, so she could collect insurance money. The father and son were shot to death Oct. 30, 2002, in their Keeling home, just north of Danville. Her stepson had a life insurance policy worth $250,000, that had her husband as the main beneficiary and her as the alternate. Lewis hired 20 year old Rodney Lewis (with whom she had begun an affair) and 22 year old Matthew Shallenburger to commit the murders. Within a month of their first meeting, Lewis, Shallenberger and Fuller concocted a plan to kill Julian and C.J. Lewis to collect the money. After one aborted attempt, Lewis left the door to her home open on Oct. 30 so Shallenberger and Fuller could come in and shoot the husband and stepson. She bought them the shotguns to commit the crime and claimed to police that she had hid in the shower during the attack by persons unknown. Lewis is the first female sentenced to death in Virginia since 1912, when Virginia Christian was executed for murdering her employer.

Leon Winston City of Lynchburg capital murder 2x

Leon Winston, along with an accomplice, attempted to break into the Lynchburg City home of Anthony and Ronda Robinson in the early morning hours of April 22, 2002. The evidence presented to the jury showed that Winston broke into the Robinson’s house early in the morning and shot Anthony Robinson eight times. Ronda was shot three times as she fled for safety with her two young children in hand. The children, aged 4 and 8, hid in a closet for four hours before they felt safe enough to come out and call for help. At the time of her death, Ronda Robinson was pregnant with her third child. Witnesses put Winston at the scene when the murders occurred and scientific evidence showed that Winston’s DNA was found on a 9mm handgun that was proven to be the murder weapon. Witnesses testified at trial that Ronda Robinson was killed in order to eliminate any witnesses. After convicting him of capital murder, the jury heard evidence of Winston’s prior convictions of abduction, robbery, and attempting to elude police and decided to sentence Winston to death.

John Allen Muhammad Prince William County capital murder;
acts of terrorism, multiple homicides

John Muhammad, a 41 year old Army veteran and drifter, was arrested in October, 2002 after a three week spree of sniper style shootings that resulted in 10 deaths and left three other victims seriously wounded around the Washington, DC area. The seemingly random attacks left the region gripped with fear. Eventually a series of breaks led investigators to identify Muhammad as a potential suspect. He was arrested in a western Maryland interstate rest area after his vehicle was spotted by an alert trucker. Although several states had homicide charges to press against Muhammad, Virginia was the first to receive the opportunity to try him. Muhammad was convicted for the murder of computer programmer Dean Meyers on October, 2002. Meyers was shot dead as he pumped his gas at a Sunoco station near Interstate 66 in Prince William County. Muhammad’s 17 year old traveling companion, Lee Malvo, admitted his involvement in the attacks and received a life sentence in a separate murder in Fairfax County.

Anthony Juniper City of Norfolk capital murder;
multiple homicides

On January 16, 2004, 33-year old Anthony Juniper murdered his ex-girlfriend in her Bay View Apartment – along with the woman’s 19-year old brother and her 2 little girls. Police say Juniper – also known as ‘Ant-Man’ – flew into a rage that Friday in January after a telephone argument with his ex-girlfriend, 27-year old Keshia Stephens. According to the prosecution case, Juniper went to her Norfolk apartment in the 1400 block of Kingston Avenue and shot and stabbed Stephens, and also shot her brother, Ruben E. Harrison III, 19, and 2 of her daughters – 4-year-old Nykia and 2-year-old Shearyia. 2 other daughters of Stephens were in school at the time and were not injured.