VIRGINIA BEACH - A former security guard, who was found guilty last October in the shooting death of a Norfolk man in 2011, was sentenced in a Virginia Beach court Monday.
Circuit Court Judge A. Bonwill Shockley sentenced Lester Ray Belmar Jr., 29, of Portsmouth to 28 years in prison with 13 years suspended, leaving 15 years to serve.
Belmar was found guilty after a two-day trial of second degree murder, malicious wounding, and two counts of use of a firearm.
According to a release from the Commonwealth's Attorney's office, Belmar was working as a security guard at a night club called Hangar 9 on Lynnhaven Parkway in Virginia Beach on May 20, 2011. Belmar owned the security company and had approximately 10 other employees working with him at Hangar 9 that night.
Belmar was wearing a belt with handcuffs and multiple types of non-lethal weapons including pepper spray. As the club closed, many patrons went over to a 7-Eleven store several hundred yards away.
Many of the security guards left Hangar 9's property and followed the crowd to the store.
Belmar's company was not contracted nor given permission by 7-Eleven to serve as security on the store's premises. Fights broke out in the 7-Eleven parking lot, and pepper spray was used to break up the crowd on more than one occasion.
Darryl Spencer, the victim from Norfolk, and two of his friends got into a verbal argument inside Hangar 9 that continued in the 7-Eleven parking lot.
A car leaving the parking lot fired gunshots in the direction of the store while Spencer and his friends were getting into their car. Most of the security staff ducked for cover.
According to the release, forensic evidence proved that Spencer fired a shotgun once, striking a car and its driver who was leaving the parking lot. No one in the car had been involved in any altercation with Spencer.
As Spencer ducked back into his car, Belmar fired two shots at him. One struck Spencer in the back of the head, killing him instantly. The bullet continued into the back of the driver. The driver survived but now has a bullet permanently lodged in his spine.
Belmar told investigators that he didn't know for certain whether Spencer had a shotgun or not. He admitted he did not see Spencer shoot the shotgun, and that he did not have any encounters with Spencer that evening.
During the trial, Belmar testified that even if Spencer had a gun, Belmar could not have predicted what Spencer was going to do with it.
Belmar's defense was that he was justified in shooting Spencer to protect others in the parking lot.
According to the release, the prosecution argued that Belmar, who admitted he intended to kill Spencer, was not legally justified in killing him because the evidence showed Spencer was getting back into a car at the time he was shot.