Ch­ester­field teenager sen­tenced to four years in ju­ve­nile de­ten­tion for friend’s ac­ci­den­tal killing

Richmond Times-Dispatch Weekend - - NEWS - BY MARK BOWES mbowes@times­dis­ (804) 649-6450

A Ch­ester­field County teenager avoided adult prison time Fri­day but was sen­tenced to four years in state ju­ve­nile de­ten­tion for killing a friend by ac­ci­den­tally fir­ing a pis­tol that po­lice be­lieve he il­le­gally ac­quired.

Af­ter de­lib­er­at­ing more than a hour af­ter a 90-minute sen­tenc­ing hear­ing, Ch­ester­field Cir­cuit Court Judge Ed­ward A. Rob­bins Jr. sen­tenced 17-yearold Ab­dul “Qadi” Crapps-Robin­son to 10 years in prison with all 10 years sus­pended on his con­vic­tion of in­vol­un­tary man­slaugh­ter, and fined him $2,500 for reck­less han­dling of a firearm.

The judge sen­tenced the teen un­der Vir­ginia’s youth­ful of­fender statute to be con­fined four years in a state ju­ve­nile cor­rec­tional fa­cil­ity — a pun­ish­ment that de­fense at­tor­ney De­bra Cor­co­ran urged the court to im­pose in the June 6, 2017, killing of Tyquon D. White­head, 18. Crapp­sRobin­son will have 1½ years of su­per­vised pa­role af­ter he is re­leased.

Prince Wil­liam County As­sis­tant Com­mon­wealth’s At­tor­neys Sa­muel Flournoy and Matthew Low­ery, who were ap­pointed spe­cial prose­cu­tors af­ter the Ch­ester­field Com­mon­wealth’s At­tor­ney’s Of­fice re­cused it­self be­cause of a po­ten­tial con­flict of in­ter­est, had urged the judge to de­part up­ward from dis­cre­tionary state sen­tenc­ing guide­lines.

The guide­lines called for an ac­tive prison term of one year and two months on the low end, to three years and three months at the high end.

Al­though Rob­bins de­clined to im­pose any ac­tive adult prison time, he sus­pended the 10-year prison term for 20 years, which means the time could be im­posed if Crapps-Robin­son gets into fur­ther trou­ble in the next two decades.

The judge also or­dered the teen to make resti­tu­tion in the amount of $5,000 to the state Vir­ginia Vic­tims Fund, which as­sisted the vic­tim’s fam­ily, and an ad­di­tional $1,150 to the vic­tim’s mother.

In seek­ing a sub­stan­tive adult pun­ish­ment, prose­cu­tors noted that just two days be­fore the shoot­ing, Crapp­sRobin­son was iden­ti­fied by wit­nesses as shoot­ing into an oc­cu­pied build­ing while ac­com­pa­nied by an­other boy.

Prose­cu­tors also in­tro­duced pho­tos from so­cial me­dia that showed Crapp­sRobin­son — who went by the street name “Spazz” — us­ing gang signs and hold­ing firearms. In one photo, the teen is dis­play­ing four guns, prose­cu­tors said.

In ad­di­tion, the teen was free on bond await­ing fi­nal dis­po­si­tion on charges of as­sault­ing two Ch­ester­field po­lice of­fi­cers when he shot White­head.

“He runs in very dan­ger­ous cir­cles,” Low­ery ar­gued. “He is likely him­self to get hurt or killed” once he is re­leased.

Cor­co­ran coun­tered that while her client did a “stupid, fool­ish thing,” he is re­morse­ful for killing his friend and is mo­ti­vated to turn his life around and go to col­lege. He earned a GED dur­ing 16 months at the Ch­ester­field Ju­ve­nile De­ten­tion Home, which pro­gram ad­min­is­tra­tor Thomas Page said is ac­com­plished by only 12 to 14 ju­ve­niles a year.

Ila Ban­berger, a long­time friend of Crapps-Robin­son’s fam­ily, de­scribed the teen in tes­ti­mony as be­ing sweet, funlov­ing and ram­bunc­tious, and she didn’t back away from that assess­ment when a prose­cu­tor showed her pho­tos of him hold­ing guns and dis­play­ing gang signs.

Ban­berger drove the teen back to Ch­ester­field so he could turn him­self in af­ter he fled to New York on a bus, then caught a train to New Jersey, where Ban­berger then lived. “I picked him up and he started cry­ing,” she tes­ti­fied.

The shoot­ing oc­curred af­ter sev­eral friends had gath­ered near the in­ter­sec­tion of Welch Drive and Old Creek Road, not far from where White­head lived with his fam­ily on Darcy Lane.

In a po­lice in­ter­view af­ter his ar­rest, Crapps-Robin­son said he had started to show White­head the gun he said he had found that day near a creek be­hind the sub­di­vi­sion where the two lived.

Crapps-Robin­son said White­head leaned in­side the driver’s door of White­head’s car, where Crapps-Robin­son was sit­ting in the pas­sen­ger seat. Crapp­sRobin­son said the gun sud­denly went off, strik­ing White­head in his left shoul­der.

When a de­tec­tive ex­plained that guns don’t just go off without pulling the trig­ger, the then-16-year-old replied that he must have pulled it. Crapps-Robin­son in­sisted the gun went off ac­ci­den­tally.

The gun, which au­thor­i­ties be­lieve was a 9 mm Ruger, was never re­cov­ered.

“He said he threw it to the side of the road as he was run­ning away,” Ch­ester­field De­tec­tive K.A. Bates tes­ti­fied.

Ron­nie John­son and his wife, Tiesha White­head, tes­ti­fied that the loss of their only son has been dev­as­tat­ing.

“Noth­ing is the same,” White­head said. “It ru­ined my fam­ily,” John­son added. They de­scribed their son as a mo­ti­vated young man who helped oth­ers, had made plans for his fu­ture, in­clud­ing col­lege, and al­ways put his fam­ily first.

John­son tes­ti­fied that he and his wife had worked hard to in­still val­ues in their son and had moved out of in­ner-city Rich­mond to pro­tect him from the neg­a­tive in­flu­ences of street cul­ture.

“The rea­son I moved to Ch­ester­field was to get away from mess like this,” he said.


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