VIRGINIA BEACH -- The third of three men who were involved in a dispute during a drug deal, in which another man was shot and killed, has been sentenced for his role in the crime.
According to a news release from the Virginia Beach Commonwealth's Attorney's office, 43 year-old Tommie Lawrence Cherry, formerly of Newport News, was sentenced by Circuit Court Judge Stephen C. Mahan for Second Degree Murder, Use of a Firearm, and Conspiracy to Distribute between ½ Pound and 5 Pounds of Marijuana.
Cherry pled guilty on March 6, and was sentenced on Monday to 53 years in prison, with 30 years and 3 months suspended, leaving 22 years and 9 months to serve.
Cherry also has prior convictions for Possess with Intent to Distribute Cocaine, Possession of Firearm by Felon (3 counts), Carrying a Loaded Firearm in Public, Assault on a Law Enforcement Officer, Concealed Weapon, Possession Schedule I/II Drugs, Possession of Counterfeit Currency, and Possession of Marijuana.
The Commonwealth's Attorney's office provided this account of how the incident transpired and what they would have used in a trial to prove Cherry's guilt:
On April 22, 2012, Tommie Lawrence Cherry, Terrell Antonio Pugh, and Dwayne Tyjuan Riley went to a recording studio in the Pembroke Lakes area of Virginia Beach to buy marijuana from victim Jackie Delice. Once they arrived and met Delice and the studio owner, an argument broke out about the quality of the marijuana. Pugh pulled out a gun, and in response, Delice reached for his own weapon. Pugh shot Delice four times, killing him. Delice was able to fire his weapon, striking the wall twice. Pugh, Cherry, Riley, and the owner of the recording studio all fled. Once they left the area, the owner of the recording studio called police to report the murder and identified Tommie Cherry as being involved.
The man who was accused of actually pulling the trigger, Terrell Pugh, pled guilty to Second Degree Murder, Conspiracy to Distribute between ½ Pound and 5 Pounds of Marijuana, and Use of a Firearm. He is serving 16 years in prison.
The other man involved - Dwayne Riley, who was not considered top be involved in the murder - is serving two (2) years and two (2) months in prison for Conspiracy to Distribute between ½ Pound and 5 Pounds of Marijuana.