ACCOMAC, Va. -- A Melfa teenager will serve 10 years in prison for his role in the carjacking of an Accomack County official and other crimes he and another teen committed in August.
Dabreon Lamont Tankard, 15, pleaded guilty in January to multiple charges, including two charges of grand larceny of an auto, carjacking with a gun, destruction of property and maliciously shooting at a vehicle. He has been incarcerated in a juvenile facility since his arrest shortly after the incidents happened.
Tankard was tried as an adult in Accomack County Circuit Court because of the serious nature of the crimes.
Tankard and his cousin, Dontrail Atqwan Johnson, 19, also of Melfa, stole and shot out the windows of a school bus belonging to Broadwater Academy and a few days later carjacked Accomack County Supervisors C. Reneta Major, according to testimony.
The guns they used were BB guns, Accomack County Commonwealth's Attorney Spencer Morgan said.
Still, the firearms charge carries a mandatory three-year minimum sentence, Judge W. Revell Lewis III said.
No evidence was presented that anyone was physically hurt during the carjacking, Lewis said.
Defense attorney Pat Robbins called to the witness stand Tankard's mother and a woman who considers herself a grandmother surrogate.
"I was in disbelief ... He has never been involved in anything like this before," said Edna Needam, Tankard's mother.
Needam said her son had been asking for some time to spend the night with his older cousin, Johnson, and that he looked up to the older youth.
"Dabreon is a very impressionable young man ... He is definitely a follower," she said.
She said since he has been incarcerated, his grades have gone up at school and teachers have told her his attitude has improved.
Joyce Taylor, who said she thinks of Tankard as her grandson, also testified, saying, "He is just so, so sorry that this happened."
Robbins called Tankard "a follower," saying, "He didn't plan this."
He said Tankard had no prior record except for one petit larceny.
"He just made a terrible, terrible mistake," he said.
Morgan said it is "stunning" that testimony characterized Tankard as a follower, noting it was Tankard who approached Major in her vehicle and asked her for a cigarette before the two took the car.
Additionally, Tankard told an investigator it was he who picked up Johnson in the school bus, Morgan said.
"Yes, he is younger than Mr. Johnson, but I don't think he is any less culpable," he said.
Tankard will be committed to the Department of Juvenile Justice until he turns 21, then will serve the remaining time in the adult prison system, followed by probation.
Tankard's attorney said his case will be reviewed after two years in the juvenile justice system and again every subsequent year.
"There may be an opportunity for the balance of time to be suspended," Lewis said, noting, "This is a very serious offense, in my mind."
He sentenced Tankard to three years on each of the grand larceny auto charges, with all but six months suspended; three years for the property destruction charge with all but six months suspended; three years on the firearm charge; 15 years with all but four years suspended on the carjacking charges; two years with all but one year suspended on the malicious shooting charge; and three years with all but 10 months suspended on the grand larceny charge, for a total of 10 years active time to serve.
Tankard also was ordered to pay restitution of $1,603, including for damages to the school bus and Major's vehicle and for a stolen computer tablet that belonged to Accomack County and was used by Major in her official capacity.